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Consumer Alert: CDC Warns “Do Not Eat Romaine Lettuce” Amid E. Coli Outbreak

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) warned Tuesday that Americans SHOULD NOT eat any romaine lettuce, stating that “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.”

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The word of caution comes after at least 32 people in 11 states have gotten sick from the same strain of an E. coli.

The current outbreak can be traced back to October, and has so far hospitalized at least 13 people in the United States.

18 people from Canada have also been sickened by the same E. coli strain that has affected Americans.

While no deaths have been reported, one of the 13 hospitalized individuals was admitted for kidney failure.

The CDC has warned that consumers, retailers and restaurants should not serve or sell any type of romaine lettuce or any food that romaine lettuce may have come into contact with it.

In the statement released by the CDC, the types of lettuce that need to be avoided include:

  • 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.

The CDC also warned 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 immediately.

Americans are also urged to wash and sanitize their refrigerators where romaine lettuce has been stored.

If you have eaten any lettuce and believe you have symptoms of E. coli infection — which include severe stomach cramps, diarrhea (often bloody) and vomiting — the CDC states:

  • 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.

At this time, no common course of contaminated lettuce has been identified.

This current E. coli strain also has the “same DNA fingerprint” as an outbreak last year in the United States and in Canada, which killed five people and sickened 210 in 36 states.

The CDC says,”This investigation is ongoing and the advice will be updated as more information is available.”

U.S. Food and Drug Administration Commissioner (FDA) Scott Gottlieb stated, “This isn’t the first romaine outbreak we have seen in the recent past, and we will continue to take steps to identify the root causes of these events and take action to prevent future outbreaks.”

This warning comes only two days before Thanksgiving.

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