E.coli Food Safety alert issued for romaine lettuce

E.coli Food Safety alert issued for romaine lettuce

E.coli Food Safety alert issued for romaine lettuce

CDC and FDA investigating multistate E.coli outbreak

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are investigating a multistate outbreak of Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli O157:H7 (E. coliO157:H7) infections linked to romaine lettuce.

The CDC reports that 32 people in 11 states have been infected with the same outbreak strain of E. coli.  There are two individuals in Illinois who have tested positive for this same strain.

CDC is advising people not to eat any romaine lettuce, and retailers and restaurants not serve or sell any, until CDC learns more about the outbreak.  The investigation is ongoing and CDC will update its advice as more information is available.

Romaine Lettuce. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

Romaine Lettuce. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

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 includes all types or uses of romaine lettuce, such as whole heads of romaine, hearts of romaine, and bags and boxes of precut 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.

Symptoms of Shiga toxin-producing E. coli infection vary for each person, but often include severe stomach cramps, diarrhea (often bloody), and vomiting.  Some people may have a slight fever.  Most people get better within 5 to 7 days.  Some infections are very mild, but others are severe or even life-threatening.

Most people who are infected will start feeling sick 3 to 4 days after eating or drinking something that contains the bacteria.  However, illnesses can start anywhere from 1 to 10 days after exposure.  Contact your health care provider if you have diarrhea that lasts for more than three days or is accompanied by fever, blood in the stool, or so much vomiting that you cannot keep liquids down and you pass very little urine.

More information can be found on the CDC website.

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Ray Hanania

Ray Hanania is an award-winning columnist, author & former Chicago City Hall reporter (1977-1992). A veteran who served during the Vietnam War and the recipient of four SPJ Peter Lisagor Awards for column writing, Hanania writes weekly opinion columns on mainstream American & Chicagoland topics for the Southwest News-Herald, Des Plaines Valley News, the Regional News, The Reporter Newspapers, and Suburban Chicagoland.  

Hanania also writes about Middle East issues for the Arab News, and The Arab Daily News criticizing government policies in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

A critic of mainstream news media bias, Hanania advocates for peace & justice for Israel & Palestine, & the empowerment of Arabs in America. 

"I write about three topics, the Middle East, politics and life in general. I often take my life experiences and offer them in an entertaining way to readers, and I take on the toughest topics like the Israel-Palestine conflict and don't pull any punches about what I feel is fair. But, my priority is always about writing the good story."

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