No romaine lettuce can be considered safe to eat in America, the CDC warned today.
There is another E. coli outbreak in the US, and the agency has traced it back – yet again – to the usual suspect: the crunchy and leafy green served across the country.
This time, 32 people in 11 states have been struck down by lettuce-linked E. coli – 13 of whom are receiving hospital treatment.
In all previous outbreaks this year – which resulted in five deaths – the agency has been careful with its wording, saying officials couldn’t be sure which romaine we should be concerned about.
But now, they aren’t taking chances: the CDC said anyone with romaine at home should throw it away – even if you’re not sure it’s romaine but suspect it might be.
This time, 32 people in 11 states have been struck down by lettuce-linked E. coli – 13 of whom are receiving hospital treatment. The CDC told anyone with romaine at home to throw it away
‘Do not eat any romaine lettuce, including whole heads and hearts, chopped, organic and salad mixes with romaine until we learn more,’ the agency said on Tuesday afternoon.
‘If you don’t know if it’s romaine or can’t confirm the source, don’t eat it.’
Most people infected with E. coli develop diarrhea and vomiting. More severe infections can lead to kidney failure.
The cases in the current outbreak started emerging on October 8.
Thus far, cases have been identified in California, Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan, Ohio, New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Connecticut, Massachusetts and New Hampshire.
Another 18 people have been sickened by romaine lettuce in the same time period in Ontario and Quebec in Canada.
This strain – E. coli O157:H7 – is the same as the one which caused an outbreak last year from romaine and unspecified leafy greens grown in Canada.
It is not the same strain as the one from Yuma, Arizona, which sickened dozens earlier this year.
Beyond warning consumers, the agency has told all retailers and restaurants to stop serving and selling romaine until they learn more about the outbreak.
‘This investigation is ongoing and the advice will be updated as more information is available.’
Experts say the warning could have disastrous consequences for all agriculture companies that deal with salad – whether they produce romaine or not.
Michael Droke, a partner at the international law firm Dorsey & Whitney devoted to the areas of agriculture and cooperative law, told DailyMail.com: ‘A [warning] of this magnitude especially during the holiday week will impact not only romaine, but other leafy green vegetables such as spinach.
‘Retailers will be pulling romaine and possibly all other lettuce/leafy greens from their shelves (a process called quarantining) until the source is found.’