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- Romaine lettuce is off the menu, as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has advised people across the United States not to eat it and to get rid of any they’ve purchased.
- At least 32 people in 11 states have reported E. coli infections linked to romaine lettuce that started last month, according to the CDC. Thirteen people have been hospitalized.
- It’s the second E. coli outbreak tied to romaine lettuce so far this year, though the CDC said the two were not related. The first, earlier this year, sickened more than 200 people and killed five.
Romaine lettuce is off the menu this Thanksgiving, as another E. coli investigation sweeps the United States.
On Tuesday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a food-safety alert warning people to stop eating romaine lettuce and to get rid of any they’ve purchased.
“Consumers who have any type of romaine lettuce in their home should not eat it and should throw it away, even if some of it was eaten and no one has gotten sick,” the CDC said. “This advice includes all types or uses of romaine lettuce, such as whole heads of romaine, hearts of romaine, and bags and boxes of precut lettuce and salad mixes that contain romaine, including baby romaine, spring mix, and Caesar salad.”
At least 32 people in 11 states have reported E. coli infections linked to romaine lettuce that started last month, according to the CDC. Thirteen people have been hospitalized.
The CDC said it had not identified a “common grower, supplier, distributor, or brand of romaine lettuce.” As a result, people across the US are advised not to eat any romaine lettuce.
The CDC said this outbreak was different from one linked to romaine lettuce in the US earlier this year that killed five people and sickened more than 200, as the E. coli bacteria have a different genetic fingerprint.
Instead, the strain of bacteria involved in this outbreak shares a genetic fingerprint with that from outbreaks tied to leafy greens in the US and romaine lettuce in Canada last year, according to the CDC.
Romaine lettuce and other raw vegetables are seen as some of the riskiest options when it comes to food safety.
“I’d eat sushi before I ate a salad,” Bill Marler, an expert on food poisoning, told Business Insider earlier this year. “I wouldn’t eat it at a 7-Eleven, but I’ve eaten sushi at a good sushi restaurant.”
While cooking veggies and meat can kill germs, salads bring together a lot of raw foods that have had numerous opportunities for contamination. Restaurants that buy chopped lettuce from suppliers put themselves at even greater risk, Marler said.