Don’t eat the lettuce: CDC extends warning to whole heads, hearts of romaine


SAN FRANCISCO – APRIL 28: Heads of romaine lettuce fill a produce case at the Fruit Barn produce store in San Francisco. Laboratory studies commissioned by the Environmental Working Group in Oakland found the chemical perchlorate, a hormone disrupter, in four of 22 samples of lettuce traced to growers in Southern California or Arizona. A […]

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has expanded its warning about eating romaine lettuce to all romaine lettuce grown in the Yuma, Arizona, region, including whole heads and hearts of romaine, in addition to the previous warning for chopped lettuce and salad mixes.

The warning was expanded after several newly reported illnesses in Alaska.

The CDC says not to buy or eat romaine lettuce from a grocery story or restaurant unless you can confirm it’s not from the Yuma, Arizona, region. The CDC says lettuce package often does not include where it was grown, so if you have any romaine lettuce at home bought from a store. you should throw it away as a precaution.

Earlier on Friday, the CDC said the E. coli outbreak believed to be linked to romaine lettuce from Yuma, Arizona, has now spread to 16 states.

The CDC added an additional 18 cases to the total number of illnesses Wednesday. This brings the total to 53 cases, 31 of which have lead to people being hospitalized. No deaths have been reported.

Pennsylvania has the most cases with 12 people becoming ill. Idaho has the second most cases with 10.

You can see the CDC’s case count map here.

The agency has not identified a common grower, supplier, distributor or brand. But officials advise that consumers, restaurants and retailers should throw out any romaine lettuce that came from the Yuma area, even if some of it was eaten and no one has gotten sick. 

Symptoms of E. coli infection include diarrhea, severe stomach cramps and vomiting. Most people recover within one week, but some illnesses last longer and can be more severe, resulting in a type of kidney failure.

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