On Friday evening, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) released a rather stark warning for all U.S. consumers regarding romaine lettuce: throw it away immediately. According to the Washington Post, the agency’s warning is the latest in a series of update regarding a fast-spreading E. coli outbreak that officials have managed to connect to romaine lettuce grown in the region of Yuma, Arizona. At least 60 people in 16 states across the country have been sicked by romaine lettuce, including eight inmates at an Alaskan prison whose symptoms derived from salads made from whole heads of romaine lettuce.
As a result, the CDC has determined that all romaine lettuce grown in and around Yuma, Arizona — be it whole heads or pre-chopped bags for salads — should immediately be tossed so as to avoid further contamination. Per the agency’s website:
Unless the source of the product is known, consumers anywhere in the United States who have any store-bought romaine lettuce at home should not eat it and should throw it away, even if some of it was eaten and no one has gotten sick. Product labels often do not identify growing regions; so, throw out any romaine lettuce if you’re uncertain about where it was grown. This includes whole heads and hearts of romaine, chopped romaine, and salads and salad mixes containing romaine lettuce. If you do not know if the lettuce is romaine, do not eat it and throw it away.
According to the Post, a “common grower, supplier, distributor or brand has yet been identified,” though the CDC has determined that the Yuma, Arizona growing region is the common denominator. So far, at least 31 people have been hospitalized, and five of these have developed hemolytic uremic syndrome, a potentially life-threatening type of kidney failure. Common symptoms of an infection include stomach cramps, diarrhea, and vomiting.
(Via Washington Post)