If You Were Thinking About Including Romaine Lettuce in Your Holiday Meal Plan – DON’T
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) said Tuesday that it is unsafe to consume romaine lettuce of “all types” and for all uses.
“CDC is advising that U.S. consumers not eat any romaine lettuce, and retailers and restaurants not serve or sell any, until we learn more about the outbreak,” the CDC said in a statement. “This investigation is ongoing and the advice will be updated as more information is available.”
The CDC, public health and regulatory officials in several states and Canada, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration are investigating a multistate outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 infections thought to be responsible for thirty-two illnesses in 11 states. 13 people have been hospitalized including one person who developed hemolytic uremic syndrome, a type of kidney failure. No deaths have been reported.
Epidemiologic evidence from the United States and Canada indicates that romaine lettuce is a likely source of the outbreak that began October 8, 2018. Ill people in this outbreak were infected with E. coli bacteria with the same DNA fingerprint as the E. coli strain isolated from ill people in a 2017 outbreak linked to leafy greens in the United States and to romaine lettuce in Canada.
U.S. consumers should not eat any romaine lettuce, and retailers and restaurants should not serve or sell any, until more is learned about the outbreak.
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 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.
Restaurants and retailers should not serve or sell any romaine lettuce, including salads and salad mixes containing romaine.
People with symptoms of an E. coli infection, such as severe stomach cramps, diarrhea (often bloody), and vomiting, and think you might have gotten sick from eating romaine lettuce, should talk to their doctor and report their illness to the health department.
This investigation is ongoing and CDC will provide more information as it becomes available.