Health Officials Warn Against Eating Romaine Lettuce
NEW YORK - U.S. health officials are telling people to avoid eating romaine lettuce because of an E. coli outbreak that has sickened 32 people in 11 states. Oklahoma is not one of those states.
The Food and Drug Administration says it's working with officials in Canada, where people are also being warned to stay away from romaine lettuce. The strain identified is different than the one linked to romaine earlier this year, but it appears similar to one linked to leafy greens last year.
FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb says the agency doesn't yet have enough information to request suppliers issue a recall. But he says suppliers can help by withdrawing romaine products until the contamination can be identified.
Centers For Disease Control also advises consumers avoid romaine lettuce - and retailers and restaurants stop selling any - until they can learn more about the outbreak.
No deaths have been reported. The last illness was reported on Oct. 31.
Most E. coli bacteria are not harmful, but some produce toxins that can cause severe illness.
The CDC offers the following advice:
- 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.
- This advice 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.
- If you do not know if the lettuce is romaine or whether a salad mix contains romaine, do not eat it and throw it away.
- Wash and sanitize drawers or shelves in refrigerators where romaine was stored. Follow these five steps to clean your refrigerator.
- Restaurants and retailers should not serve or sell any romaine lettuce, including salads and salad mixes containing romaine.
- Take action if you have symptoms of an E. coli infection:
- Talk to your healthcare provider.
- Write down what you ate in the week before you started to get sick.
- Report your illness to the health department.
- Assist public health investigators by answering questions about your illness.