Romaine Lettuce E. Coli Scare Prompts Consumer Reports Warning

Romaine Lettuce E. Coli Scare Prompts Consumer Reports Warning

Consumer Reports has warned the public to avoid eating romaine lettuce again after another outbreak of E. coli was tracked back to romaine grown in Arizona. 

The new outbreak has sickened 35 people in 11 states and was traced to bagged, chopped romaine from Yuma, Arizona, according to Consumer Reports.

This recommendation goes beyond the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendation, which is to confirm that any bagged romaine didn’t originate in the Yuma area before purchasing. 

Consumer Reports said it would be difficult for buyers to tell where the romaine was grown, which is why they are saying consumers should avoid romaine altogether until the threat passes. 

“Consumer Reports is making this recommendation given the potentially fatal consequences of E. coli, the fact that there are still several unknowns about this outbreak, and that no type of romaine has been ruled definitively safe by government officials,” Consumer Reports Director of Food Safety Research and Testing James E. Rogers, Ph.D., said. “While we are making this decision out of an abundance of caution, this warning is particularly important for vulnerable people like the elderly, pregnant women, and young children.”

Twenty-two of those affected had to be hospitalized in the current outbreak, including three with kidney failure, CR reported. The outbreak is the same potentially deadly strain of E. coli, 0157:H7, that occurred late last year in the U.S. and Canada, but the CDC does not believe it is connected with the earlier outbreak. 

Pennsylvania had nine people infected, Idaho had eight, and seven were in New Jersey. A smaller number of cases were reported in Connecticut, New York, Ohio, Illinois, Michigan, Missouri, Virginia, and Washington state, CR reported. 

The late 2017 outbreak sickened 17 Americans in 15 states and 41 Canadians in five provinces. One Canadian died.

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