An E. coli warning tied to romaine lettuce is being expanded to include all types of romaine from a region in southwestern Arizona, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced today (April 20).
Consumers also should not buy or eat romaine lettuce at a grocery store or restaurant unless they can confirm it is not from the Yuma area. Figuring out where bagged, store-bought chopped lettuce was originally grown can be hard, so the CDC suggested that if you don't know for certain, avoid chopped romaine lettuce altogether.
The CDC has the full details on the outbreak warning here. Thirty-one of those ill have been hospitalized.
If you do not know if the lettuce is romaine, do not eat it and throw it away.
Among the hardest hit states are Pennsylvania, with 12 reported cases, and Idaho, with 10. 31 of those have been hospitalized, including five with kidney failure. There are no reported deaths as of Friday at 4 p.m. EDT.
The current CDC warnings cover whole heads and hearts of romaine lettuce, as well as chopped romaine, salads and salad mixes that contain romaine.
The agency said it traced the infection to romaine lettuce after interviewing numerous sick people and asking about the foods they had eaten and other exposures before they became ill.
Ask your suppliers about the source of your romaine lettuce. Eight inmates in the prison were infected after eating whole romaine lettuce contaminated by the bacteria, according to information from the CDC and Alaska's Department of Health and Social Services.
The CDC did caution illnesses occurring after March 29 aren't reflected in the latest statistics due to how long it takes someone to become ill with E. coli and when the illness is then reported. The most susceptible to the illness are young children, the elderly, and immune-compromised people.
A 66-year-old woman recently filed a lawsuit against the chain Panera Bread alleging that she was sickened by E coli after eating at one of the restaurants in New Jersey. Almost all - 41 of 43 - said they had eaten romaine lettuce in the week before they were interviews.