Romaine lettuce is the cause of the latest E.coli outbreak

By: Ava K.

 

Romaine lettuce is a common salad ingredient for thousands of families across the United States, but recently, based on new information, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is warning consumers of romaine lettuce to be cautious of what they’re buying.

This warning includes all types of romaine, whole heads and hearts, along with chopped romaine and premade salads containing romaine.

A multistate E.coli outbreak has been linked to bags of chopped romaine, but experts are advising people to avoid all forms of the leafy green.

The outbreak has grown to 53 cases over the course of several weeks in 16 states. Luckily, no one has died, but about 70% of those affected have been hospitalized and multiple cases have developed kidney failure.

The C.D.C. has not discovered the exact source of the outbreak, but some experts are suggesting that it came from Arizona, more specifically the Yuma region. You may wonder, why Arizona?

Most of the bagged romaine lettuce grown in North America for grocery stores and restaurants comes from Salinas Valley, California. However, in fall and winter, the weather is too cold to grow in California, so the industry is moved to Yuma, Arizona.

Given the time frame of the outbreak, it is fairly clear that the infected romaine lettuce came from Yuma. A possible cause of the infected lettuce is an animal defecation in a field or runoff that was contaminated with E.coli.

You won’t have to worrying about not eating romaine lettuce for much longer though, because most of the industry’s bagged romaine production has moved back to California. However, it is likely that bagged romaine from Yuma is still in the food supply.

 

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