The Centers for Disease Control and Food and Drug Administration are warning against the consumption of romaine lettuce grown in Salinas, Calif. due to an outbreak of E. coli infections linked to the greens. If this feels like déjà vu, that’s because we first reported this in late November. Now new cases have been confirmed, as recently as Dec. 1.
Where and When Was the Contaminated Romaine Sold?
According to the CDC, there have been 138 reported cases of illness (including 72 hospitalizations) connected to the contaminated greens. The outbreak extends coast-to-coast with 25 states being affected so far.
The reports of illness span between Sept. 24 and Dec. 1 (see an updated timeline of reported cases), though the CDC notes the time it takes between a person becoming ill and reporting the illness is approximately two to four weeks. If you’ve recently consumed romaine lettuce and are experiencing symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, severe diarrhea, or abdominal pain, the CDC advises that you contact your doctor immediately.
What Should You Do If You Recently Purchased Romaine?
If you’ve recently purchased romaine, check for a label and discard the lettuce if it was grown in Salinas. If there is no indication where the lettuce originated, toss it to be safe. Also make sure that you are not storing any prepared food that may contain romaine—if so, dump that too.
The outbreak is connected to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service’s November 21 recall of over 75,000 pounds of salad products from New Jersey manufacturer Missa Bay.
The E. coli strain O157:H7 which is at the root of the current outbreak is the same one that caused outbreaks stemming from consumption of leafy greens in 2017 and romaine last year.
Header image courtesy of Getty Images/Douglas Sacha.