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November 21, 2018 3:12 PM

Romain Lettuce may be Unsafe for Consumption

CDC released an alert yesterday advising against the sale, service, or consumption of romaine lettuce. The Washington State Department of Health and Jefferson County Environmental Public Health have the following advice for Jefferson County residents:

• 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 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.
• Wash the inside walls and shelves of the refrigerator, cutting boards and countertops; then sanitize them with a food-safe sanitizer such as a solution of one tablespoon of chlorine bleach to one gallon of water; dry with a clean cloth or paper towel that has not been previously used.
• Restaurants and retailers should not serve or sell any romaine lettuce, including salads and salad mixes containing romaine.

Background Information

CDC and FDA are advising consumers and retailers not to consume, serve, or sell romaine lettuce due to a multi-state outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 infections linked to romaine. 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 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.

At this time, there is not enough information for FDA to identify the source of the contamination needed for a recall. Instead, FDA has requested that industry voluntarily withdraw the product from the market until the outbreak is over or a specific source is identified. Romaine lettuce is also suspected in current illnesses in Canada.

There is no genetic link between the current outbreak and outbreak linked to romaine from the Yuma growing region earlier this year. However, there is a genetic link between this current outbreak and the outbreak in Fall 2017 linked to leafy greens that affected consumers in both Canada and the U.S.

The symptoms of Shiga toxin-producing (STEC) E. coli infections vary for each person but often include severe stomach cramps and bloody diarrhea. If there is fever, it is usually less than 101 degrees Fahrenheit. Most people get better within 5–7 days, but others can have very severe or life-threatening infections. People need to take action if they have symptoms of an E. coli infection by talking with their healthcare providers and potentially seeking care.

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