E. Coli Outbreak Spreads To Michigan: Avoid Romaine Lettuce

romaine lettuce
By WWJ Newsradio 950

(WWJ) - One person has now been sickened in Michigan from an E. coli outbreak blamed on romaine lettuce.

The CDC issued an update on the outbreak Tuesday, saying 67 people in 19 states have been infected with the same E. coli strain. More than half of those sickened required hospitalization. Illnesses started on dates ranging from September 24 to November 14.

Last week, health officials warned the public not to eat romaine lettuce from the Salinas, California growing region -- including all types of romaine (whole head, hearts of romaine, salad mixes, organic, etc.).

romaine label

If the label on your lettuce indicates it was grown in Salinas (whether alone or with the name of another location) do not eat it; throw it away or return it to the place of purchase. 

If your lettuce does not have information about the harvest region or does not indicate that it has been grown indoors (i.e., hydroponically- and greenhouse-grown), throw it away or return it to the place of purchase.

Consumers ordering salad containing romaine at a restaurant or at a salad bar should ask the staff whether the lettuce came from Salinas. If it did, or if the staff does not know, do not eat it.

The FDA has deployed investigators to farms in Salinas to try to determine the source and extent of the contamination.

Although most strains of E. coli are harmless, others can make you sick. This particular strain, E. coli O157:H7, can cause nausea, vomiting, bloody diarrhea and dehydration. Seniors, young children and persons with compromised immune systems are the most susceptible. Anyone concerned about an illness should contact a physician. Anyone diagnosed by a physician as having an illness related to E. coli O157:H7 is also urged to contact state and local public health authorities.

The CDC says the E. coli O157:H7 strain from patients in this current outbreak is similar to strains of E. coli associated with two previous outbreaks, from the Fall of 2017 and 2018. The 2017 outbreak was linked to various leafy greens and the 2018 outbreak was linked to romaine.