CDC expands warning to consumers over tainted romaine lettuce

Prepackaged salad at a Bell Market grocery store.   Justin Sullivan  Getty Images

Prepackaged salad at a Bell Market grocery store. Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Health officials late last week expanded a health advisory related to a multi-state E. coli outbreak, now stating that consumers should throw out all types of romaine lettuce sourced from Yuma, Arizona.

The CDC was able to trace the outbreak to chopped romaine lettuce grown near Yuma, Arizona.

Cape Fear Seafood has had to alter its menu after the recent E. coli outbreak connected to romaine lettuce.

Hemolytic uremic syndrome symptoms are also striking.

Over the past several days, 2 On Your Side has received a lot of questions about the CDC's warnings about romaine lettuce on our social media pages.

In addition to the eight Alaska inmates, the outbreak of E.coli O157:H7 has sickened at least 53 other people, 31 of whom had to be hospitalized, the CDC said in an updated posted Friday.

The Public Health Agency of Canada advises consumers to follow safe food handling tips when preparing lettuce. "If you do not know if the lettuce is romaine, do not eat it and throw it away", states the CDC on its E. coli 0157:H7outbreak webpage. Though no specific grower, supplier, distributor or brand has yet been identified.

And in Pennsylvania, The Morning Call reports that two patients have been treated for E. coli infections at St. Luke's Hospital. Most develop diarrhea that can be bloody, severe stomach cramps and vomiting. The bacteria can find it's way onto produce via animal feces in growing areas, but that has not been confirmed yet in this case. These complications are more common in young children under 5, older adults, and people with weakened immune systems.

"Right now, the only places we're selling this romaine is at Green Acres stores and we're selling them at Smith markets in Hutch and Leekers", Miller said.

While the outbreak came as the harvest of romaine in the Yuma area was almost finished, Alameda says he worries about the incident's effect on sales of the California crop, whose production is ongoing.

Governor Wolf is telling all Pennsylvanians to toss out their romaine lettuce.

"Out here we disinfect the tops of the lids before we plant lettuce and we just try to keep everything as clean as we can", Miller said.

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