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MI included in multi-state E. coli outbreak linked to contaminated romaine

17 April 2018

The CDC on Friday advised consumers anywhere in the United States not to eat and throw away any store-bought chopped romaine lettuce at home, including salads and salad mixes containing chopped romaine lettuce.

Chopped romaine lettuce from Yuma, Arizona, was possibly linked to the current E. coli outbreak in several states in the country, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said in a warning Sunday.

Consumer Reports has warned the public to avoid eating romaine lettuce again after another outbreak of E. coli was tracked back to romaine grown in Arizona. If you do not know if the chopped lettuce is romaine, do not eat it and throw it away.

In another development, a group of five produce grower trade groups issued a joint statement on April 14 that said its members are cooperating with government investigators and are working closely to identify the source of the outbreak tied to chopped romaine from the Yuma, Ariz., growing area, adding that almost all romaine being harvested and shipped now is from California areas not implicated in the outbreak. The outbreak is the same potentially deadly strain of E. coli, 0157:H7, that occurred late past year in the US and Canada, but the CDC does not believe it is connected with the earlier outbreak. The CDC reports 69 percent of those infected are women, and that 22 have been hospitalized and three have suffered from a type of kidney failure. Symptoms include bloody diarrhea, severe stomach cramps and vomiting.

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In New Jersey, seven people in four counties have contracted E. coli related to the outbreak - including four in Hunterdon County, and one each in Monmouth, Sussex and Somerset counties, according to state health officials. About 5 to 10% of people diagnosed with this illness develop hemolytic uremic syndrome, or HUS. Most of those people ate salad at a restaurant; romaine lettuce was the common ingredient.

"If you can not confirm the source of the romaine lettuce, do not buy it or eat it", the CDC said.

"It is unrealistic to expect consumers to figure out whether their romaine was produced in Arizona or somewhere else, especially when eating in a restaurant", she says. There is no information to indicate that whole head romaine lettuce or hearts of romaine are involved in this outbreak.

In addition, the agency recommends asking grocery stores and restaurants to confirm their chopped romaine is not from Yuma.

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While the CDC said investigations pointed to that region, it didn't name any particular grower, supplier or distributor.

A Valley-based restaurant chain is switching things up in response to a warning from the CDC over romaine lettuce.

The FDA is continuing to investigate this outbreak and will share more information as it becomes available.

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MI included in multi-state E. coli outbreak linked to contaminated romaine