National E. coli Outbreak Is Traced to Romaine Lettuce Grown In Arizona
The CDC is warning people that tainted lettuce ended up in the following pre-packaged salads as well.
This story originally appeared on CookingLight.com by Zee Krstic.
It's the second time this year that Americans are being warned to stay away from romaine lettuce due to E.coli contamination, following a massive outbreak in January that killed one and sickened 50-plus others across the United States and Canada. The latest bout has affected 35 people in 11 different states.
But the outbreak might be even more worrisome as the tainted lettuce has made its way into prepared, ready-to-eat salads sold across the nation.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that three people are being treated for a rare kidney failure known as "hemolytic uremic syndrome" after eating the contaminated lettuce. According to the agency, and with the help of the Food and Drug Administration, the source of the latest round of E.coli poisoning stems from romaine producers in the Yuma, Arizona region. (Related: How a Wonky Tech Term Could Mean the End of Foodborne Illness)
They haven't identified which grower, distributor, supplier, or even brand is responsible for spreading the sickness just yet.
More than 90 percent of those affected by the outbreak said they ate romaine lettuce before getting sick, including those served chopped salads at local restaurants. Before the CDC and FDA pinpointed the general source, some news outlets reported a possible link between Panera Bread salads and a few serious E.coli cases in New Jersey last week-but it's unclear if the salads served at these restaurants included lettuce grown in Arizona. (Related: Is It Food Poisoning-Or Something More Serious? Here's How to Tell.)
In addition to asking consumers to toss lettuce that has been purchased recently-especially products sourced from the Arizona region-the CDC says that there are a few pre-packaged salads and salad mixes that could be at risk.
Food Safety News reports that mixed salads available at regional grocery chain Market District have been compromised, including four different varieties under its in-house "Great to Go" brand. Some of the prepared meals that could be tainted include chicken caesar salad, chicken and bacon salad, and a chef's salad with ham, turkey, and hard-boiled eggs. (Related: Whole Foods Recalls Cheese Due to Possible Listeria Contamination)
The CDC is still working to find which particular Arizona source is responsible for the E.coli outbreak, but you can see how this outbreak affects your area by taking a look at the up-to-date map of case counts published by the CDC right here. It'll help you avoid any chance of possibly falling ill, including suffering the seriously awful side effects of severe stomach cramps, vomiting, and diarrhea.