Avoid Eating Romaine Lettuce Again, Consumer Reports Says

Avoid Eating Romaine Lettuce Again, Consumer Reports Says

Last week, Food Poisoning Bulletin told you that government officials did not have a specific food in mind.

Since the outbreak began in late March, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has tallied a total of 35 infections across 11 states, including three cases of kidney failure.

Consumer Reports said it would be hard for buyers to tell where the romaine was grown, which is why they are saying consumers should avoid romaine altogether until the threat passes.

Laura Gieraltowski, Ph.D., M.P.H., who leads the Foodborne Outbreak Response Team at the CDC, predicts there will be more reports of illness in the days and weeks ahead.

The romaine lettuce is sourced from the winter growing areas in Yuma, Arizona. At this time, no common grower, supplier, distributor, or brand has been identified. But there have been a few recalls issued in connection with this matter.

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The current outbreak is not related to a recent multistate outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 infections linked to leafy greens. The DNA fingerprint of the bacteria in that outbreak is different. If it is unclear from where the lettuce came from Yuma, do not purchase it, CDC suggested. The restaurants reported using bagged, chopped romaine lettuce to make salads.

Symptoms of E. coli O157 infection vary for each person, but often include severe stomach cramps, diarrhea (often bloody), and vomiting. If a fever is present, it is usually less than 101°F. Twenty-six (93%) of 28 people interviewed reported consuming romaine lettuce in the week before their illness started. Symptoms of this complication include abdominal pain, lethargy, decreased urination, pallor, and small unexplained bruises or bleeding. "Anyone experiencing symptoms of this illness should see a healthcare provider".

Restaurants and stores are advised not to serve or sell chopped romaine lettuce. If it is from Yuma, Arizona, or the retailer doesn't know, do not buy it and do not eat it.

However, Consumer Reports is advising against consumers purchasing any romaine lettuce regardless of where it's grown while the outbreak is ongoing, including unbagged romaine or hearts of romaine.

The experienced attorneys from Pritzker Hageman law firm represent and helps people who have been sickened by contaminated food. Consumers may check with their restaurant and/or retailer to assist them in identifying origin of the product. Although many infections resolve in 5-7 days, they can result in serious illness, including a potentially serious condition called hemolytic uremic syndrome.

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