Multistate E. coli outbreak traced to lettuce spreads to Missouri, Illinois

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Chopped romaine lettuce from Yuma, Arizona, was possibly linked to the current E. coli outbreak in several states in the country, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said in a warning Sunday.

- Restaurants and retailers should ask their suppliers about the source of their chopped romaine lettuce.

The CDC on Friday advised consumers anywhere in the United States not to eat and throw away any store-bought chopped romaine lettuce at home, including salads and salad mixes containing chopped romaine lettuce.

Restaurants and retailers should not serve or sell romaine lettuce grown in Yuma, officials said.

Foodborne illnesses connected to romaine lettuce from Arizona and eggs from North Carolina have sickened more than 50 people in more than 20 states, federal authorities said during the weekend. No deaths have been reported, but 22 people have been hospitalized.

Pennsylvania has the highest number of people infected, followed by Idaho and New Jersey. Most people reported eating a salad at a restaurant, and romaine lettuce was the only common ingredient identified among the salads eaten. None of the reported cases to this point are in Utah. An investigation is continuing, and no products have been recalled.

Lettuce from restaurants is suspected to be affected, as well as bagged and pre-chopped lettuce from stores. Romaine grown elsewhere and other forms of romaine, such as whole heads or hearts, are not believed to have been contaminated, according to a joint statement from industry leaders. Almost all of the romaine lettuce now being harvested and shipped throughout the U.S.is from California growing areas and is safe to consume.

"The leafy greens community takes the responsibility for producing fresh produce very seriously", the statement said, in part, according to Food Safety News. Attorney Fred Pritzker and his team recently won $7.5 million for young client whose kidneys failed because of hemolytic uremic syndrome after an E. coli O157:H7 infection. Other kinds of E. coli cause urinary tract infections, respiratory illness and pneumonia. HUS is the most serious E. coli symptom, to which children under 5 and senior citizens are most vulnerable. Ill people range in age from 12 to 84 years, with a median age of 29.

This is a different E. coli O157:H7 HUS outbreak from the E. coli outbreak that took place from November to December 2017. A woman who was sickened with E. coli after eating a salad at Panera has filed a lawsuit against Panera and its lettuce supplier, Freshway Foods.

The company closed 43 restaurants in Washington state and OR after health officials linked an E. coli outbreak to six restaurants in the Northwest.

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