Come on, romaine. Not again. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) warned consumers on Tuesday, November 20th, that a new E. coli outbreak has affected all romaine lettuce. The CDC advises consumers to ditch any and all romaine, even if some has already been eaten and no one in the household has gotten sick.
As of the 20th, the CDC is aware of 32 consumers in 11 states who became infected with Shiga toxin-producing E. coli between October 8th and October 31st, 2018. Thirteen of the infected ended up in the hospital, and one developed hemolytic uremic syndrome, a type of kidney failure. So far, no deaths linked to this outbreak have been reported.
Even if you’re unsure if a salad mix contains romaine or if you cannot classify the type of lettuce in your fridge, toss it. “This advice includes all types or uses of romaine lettuce, such as whole heads of romaine, hearts of romaine, and bags and boxes of precut lettuce and salad mixes that contain romaine, including baby romaine, spring mix, and Caesar salad,” reads the CDC Food Safety Alert.
This is the second E. coli romaine outbreak of 2018. Back in the spring, an outbreak that was traced back to the contaminated canal water in Yuma, Arizona killed five and infected another 210 consumers in 36 states.
Outbreak Alert: Do not eat any romaine lettuce, including whole heads and hearts, chopped, organic and salad mixes with romaine until we learn more. If you don’t know if it’s romaine or can’t confirm the source, don’t eat it. https://t.co/NrFOIxG8hx pic.twitter.com/FuzkHv4bd3— CDC (@CDCgov) November 20, 2018
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reports that this most recent outbreak does not seem to be connected to the Yuma incident. However, the FDA’s Fast Facts warning reads, “[the November outbreak] does appear to be similar to the strain that caused a smaller outbreak linked to leafy greens that occurred in the fall of 2017 in both the U.S. and Canada.”
Symptoms of Shiga toxin-producing E. coli infection include severe stomach cramps, diarrhea, bloody stools, and vomiting.
These symptoms usually begin showing themselves three to four days after the germ is ingested and illness can last about five to seven days. In some circumstances, the sickness could be life-threatening, and a healthcare provider should be contacted if liquids cannot be kept down, a high fever is present, and/or the patient has bloody stool and infrequent urination.
Take the CDC’s advice and get rid of that romaine ASAP. We’re certainly going to have a hard time trusting romaine once this second outbreak is over with.