The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has expanded its warning about an E. coli outbreak connected to romaine lettuce to cover all forms of romaine, including whole heads and hearts of romaine grown in the Yuma, Arizona, growing area.
The last shipments of romaine lettuce from the Yuma region were harvested on April 16, 2018 and the harvest season is over, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Since romaine lettuce has a shelf life of several weeks, it is possible some contaminated lettuce may still be in stores, restaurants, or home refrigerators.
It's unlikely that anyone now has edible romaine lettuce that's contaminated with the toxic strain of E. coli bacteria sickening people nationwide since March. So, it should no longer be in stores and restaurants because of its three-week shelf life. The leafy greens industry has shifted to California over the past two months. Of the 157 people who were ill that the CDC has information on, 75 have been hospitalized and 20 have developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), the form of kidney failure that can be fatal.
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One person died in California. Numerous other illnesses are linked to chopped romaine lettuce.
- Although more states are reporting cases of people sickened by tainted romaine lettuce, the CDC implied that romaine is probably safe to eat again. The strain linked to chopped romaine lettuce is a Shiga toxin-producing E. coli, which can cause severe stomach cramps, diarrhea and vomiting, the CDC said. The most recent illnesses reported to the CDC started when romaine lettuce from the Yuma, Arizon region was still available.