The Center for Disease Control issues an urgent notice this week to U.S. Consumers not to eat any romaine lettuce due to an outbreak of E. coli. Retailers and restaurants have been ordered to remove all romaine lettuce from their store shelves and restaurants must remove romaine lettuce from their menus. Thirty two people have already been sickened in 11 states, some of them seriously ill with kidney failure.
“The word is no romaine this holiday season,” said Chaffee County Public Health Director Andrea Carlstrom. She referred consumers to the notice posted on the Chaffee County Public health Facebook page (which has been shared to the Ark Valley Voice Facebook page as well.
The CDC still does not know the source of the contamination leading to the outbreak, which has occurred at almost exactly the same time as an outbreak last year. The CDC says this investigation is ongoing and the advice will be updated as more information is available. Consumers who have any type of romaine lettuce in their home should not eat it and should throw it away, even if some of it was eaten and no one has gotten sick.
The notice includes all types or uses of romaine lettuce, such as whole heads of romaine, hearts of romaine, and bags and boxes of pre-cut lettuce and salad mixes that contain romaine, including baby romaine, spring mix, and Caesar salad.
The CDC’s notice urges extreme caution during this multi-state outbreak. It advises consumers that if you do not know if the lettuce is romaine or whether a salad mix contains romaine, don’t eat it and throw it away. Wash and sanitize drawers or shelves in refrigerators where romaine was stored.
The official disease is known as Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli O157:H7 (E. coli O157:H7) infection. Consumers who experience symptoms of infection should get in touch with your health care provider, write down everything you can remember you ate in the days leading up to the symptoms, and notify the public health department.