Just in time for Thanksgiving meal planning, there’s another E.coli outbreak affecting romaine lettuce.
The Centers for Disease Control reported Friday afternoon that 40 people had become sick and 28 hospitalized with a strain of E. coli that appeared to stem from lettuce grown in the Salinas, Calif., area. The Maryland Department of Health identified the strain.
The CDC is recommending consumers and stores that sell lettuce avoid any romaine from Salinas, Calif., whether in whole heads of lettuce, Caesar salad mixes, or bags of other blends of lettuce (including some field greens) that include romaine lettuce.
“Plan on something other than romaine for Thanksgiving dinner,” said Michael Droke, a partner at the international law firm of Dorsey & Whitney that is devoted to agriculture and cooperative law. “A warning like this especially during the holiday week will impact not only romaine, but other leafy green vegetables such as spinach. Retailers will be pulling romaine and possibly all other lettuce/leafy greens from their shelves (a process called quarantining),” he said.
Wegmans issued a press release on its website Friday afternoon saying that it had removed romaine products that came from the designated area of California. It also noted that although it still has romaine lettuce for sale in its stores, all of that lettuce is from unaffected areas of the country.
The CDC recommendations include throwing out any packages of romaine lettuce that are either marked as coming from Salinas, or whose growing region is not clear. Consumers should not eat it, the CDC said, and crisper drawers or shelves in the refrigerator that contained the lettuce should be washed out and sanitized.
CDC recommends that stores and restaurants not sell or serve lettuce grown in Salinas, or lettuce whose source is not clear.
The government has recalled romaine lettuce from the Missa Bay, LLC, company, but noted that the produce could be sold under many different labels. “Use by” dates range from Oct. 29 to Nov. 1.
For more specifics on the recall and information about symptoms of food poisoning caused by E. coli, visit the CDC website.
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