CDC advises United States consumers not to eat romaine lettuce

Kenny Tucker
November 24, 2018

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued the alert after an outbreak of illnesses caused by a particularly unsafe type of E. coli contamination.

The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued the warning against all Romaine lettuce just two days before the Thanksgiving holiday, when American families gather and feast together.

Thirty-two people from 11 states have gotten ill with E. coli traced back to romaine lettuce since October 8 in the United States. Of those, 13 have been hospitalized, with one patient suffering from a form of kidney failure.

The Public Health Agency of Canada has identified an additional 18 people who have become sick with the same strain of E. coli in Ontario and Quebec. Those who have any type of romaine lettuce in the fridge - including whole heads, romaine hearts, boxes of romaine or salad mixes with romaine - are asked to throw it away, even if some of it was eaten without leading to illness.

In addition, anyone who has romaine lettuce should sanitize drawers and shelves of refrigerators where it was stored.

No deaths have been reported, but 13 of the people who became sick in the United States were hospitalized. "This year, we're a month earlier, so we're earlier in the process, earlier in the throes of an outbreak", Gottlieb said.

The infection has been linked to romaine lettuce, although an investigation is ongoing, said the CDC.

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The alert includes all parts of the lettuce and any romaine found in mixes.

"FDA is working on determining the source of the romaine lettuce, but at this time they haven't been able to identify a single grower or supplier or brand of romaine lettuce", the CDC's Laura Gieraltowski told CBS News.

When can we add romaine back to our salads?

Officials were uncertain of the source of the tainted lettuce.

A common strain of E.coli was detected in six of the sickened people, and appears to match the bacterial strain found in an outbreak of illnesses from contaminated leafy greens late a year ago that affected people in both the US and Canada.

We will update this story as more information becomes available. Most people recover within a week, but some illnesses can last longer and be more severe.

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