Information from an mini-outbreak of E. coli in an Alaska prison led the Centers for Disease Control to expand its warning about romaine lettuce from Yuma, Arizona, in the current E. coli outbreak that has spread to 16 states. Thirty-one of those ill have been hospitalized. Consumers should avoid any pre-cut romaine lettuce from the Yuma area. There have also been cases reported in Alaska, Arizona, California, Connecticut, Illinois, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Virginia, and Washington.
People usually get sick from Shiga toxin-producing E. coli 2 to 8 days after swallowing the germ.
No deaths have been reported yet. Most people recover within one week, but some illnesses last longer and can be more severe, resulting in a type of kidney failure. Those most at risk from the infection are the very young, very old and individuals with compromised immune systems.
While the current cases are connected to the Yuma, Arizona, area, the CDC warns that package labels do not often identify growing regions.
The CDC said the exact source of the tainted lettuce hasn't been identified, but that "information collected to date indicates that chopped romaine lettuce from the Yuma, Arizona, growing region could be contaminated. and could make people sick". They have the establishment number P-40211 inside the USDA inspection mark on the package. However, the contaminated product could potentially still be available in stores and restaurants. The strain of E. coli involved in this outbreak can cause stomach cramps, vomiting and bloody diarrhea.
The company included the lettuce recall on its website, along with a list of other various product recalls.
In the meantime the CDC guidance for consumers remains unchanged. Restaurants and retailers should ask their suppliers about the source of their chopped romaine lettuce. This warning now includes whole heads and hearts of romaine lettuce, in addition to chopped romaine and salads and salad mixes containing romaine.
Consumers in IL who have store-bought romaine lettuce at home, including salads and salad mixes containing chopped romaine lettuce, should not eat it and should throw it away, even if some of it was eaten and no one has gotten sick.