Update: Leading U.S. fresh produce groups have responded to the outbreak. To read their joint statement, click here.
A multistate outbreak of E. coli that has so far infected 35 people has been linked to chopped Romaine lettuce grown in Yuma, Arizona, although no common grower, supplier, distributor or brand has been identified as the source.
In an announcement today, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported 22 people had been hospitalized as a result of E. coli O157:H7 infections but to date there have been no recorded deaths.
The highest number of infections have been recorded in Idaho and Pennsylvania, while other cases have been in Washington State, Ohio, Missouri, Illinois, Michigan, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Vermont.
“Before purchasing romaine lettuce at a grocery store or eating it at a restaurant, consumers should confirm with the store or restaurant that it is not chopped romaine lettuce from the Yuma, Arizona growing region,” the CDC advised consumers.
“If you cannot confirm the source of the romaine lettuce, do not buy it or eat it.
“Restaurants and retailers should not serve or sell any chopped romaine lettuce, including salads and salad mixes containing chopped romaine lettuce, from the Yuma, Arizona growing region.”
The current outbreak is not related to a recent multistate outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 infections linked to leafy greens. People in the previous outbreak were infected with a different DNA fingerprint of E. coli O157:H7 bacteria.