E. Coli Romaine Lettuce In Tennessee

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What's in your salad? Reports from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration show that Tennessee is now included in the outbreak of E. coli believed to be from romaine lettuce grown in the Yuma Valley of Arizona.

According to CBS News an outbreak of E. coli poisoning has expanded to Tennessee, where one more person has been sickened after eating romaine lettuce grown on an Arizona farm.

The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says across the nation, there are 23 confirmed cases of E. coli and seven probable cases connected to the tainted lettuce. That is up from 19 confirmed by CDC earlier this week. The higher number of E. coli cases have been in Pennsylvania, Idaho, New Jersey and Montana.

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The outbreak has also reached consumers in Alaska, Arizona, California, Connecticut, Illinois, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, New York, Ohio, Tennessee, Virginia and Washington.

According to the FDA news releases, the agency has identified one farm as the source of the whole-head romaine lettuce that sickened several people at a correctional facility in Alaska. However, the agency has not determined where in the supply chain the contamination occurred.

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The Center for Disease Control (CDC) says that no deaths have been reported at this time.

Label: "Best if used by May 12"

CBS News reports that the recall only applies to romaine lettuce with "best if used by" date before or on May 12, when Freshway Foods stopped buying its romaine from Yuma, Beer said. The recall also affects "grab and go" salads sold at Kroger, Giant Eagle, Ingles Markets and Marsh grocery stores.

What Should Consumers Do?

The FDA recommends that consumers ask grocers, restaurants, and other food service establishments where their romaine lettuce originated, and avoid any romaine lettuce, whether chopped, whole head or hearts, that originated from the Yuma growing region.

Who Is At Risk?

People of any age can become infected with Shiga toxin-producing (STEC) E. coli. Children under the age of 5 years, adults older than 65, and people with weakened immune systems are more likely than others to develop severe illness, including HUS, but even healthy older children and young adults can become seriously ill.

Symptons

Symptoms of E. coli typically begin two to eight days after consuming the bacteria, although most patients become ill three or four days after consumption. Symptoms include severe stomach cramps, diarrhea and vomiting. Most people recover in five to seven days. Those most at risk for E. coli illness include the very young, the very old and individuals with compromised immune systems.

Health officials had issued a warning for residents and restaurants about chopped romaine lettuce grown in the Yuma, Arizona, area last week. The outbreak investigation is ongoing and health officials have not yet identified a single brand, supplier, distributor or grower as the source of the contamination.

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CBS, CDA, E. coli, FDA, romaine lettuce, Tennessee, WGNS
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