Consumers urged to avoid certain lettuce

Consumers urged to avoid certain lettuce

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are advising people to not eat romaine lettuce harvested from the Salinas, Calif. growing region. The CDC and FDA are investigating a multi-state outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 infections linked to romaine lettuce harvested from this growing region.

This advisory pertains to all types of romaine lettuce harvested from that area, including whole heads of romaine, hearts of romaine, and packages of pre-cut lettuce and salad mixes containing romaine (including baby romaine, spring mix, and Caesar salad). If romaine lettuce has “Salinas” on the label in any form, whether alone or with the name of another location, do not eat it. If consumers have romaine lettuce at home that is not labeled with a growing region, they shouldn't eat it and should throw it away. To date, 40 cases and 28 hospitalizations have been associated with this outbreak. There are no known illnesses in Rhode Island, Massachusetts, or Connecticut associated with this outbreak.

Romaine lettuce that was harvested outside of the target growing area does not appear to be related to the current outbreak. Hydroponically and greenhouse-grown romaine also do not appear to be related to the current outbreak.

Retailers, restaurants, and other food service operators should not serve romaine lettuce from this growing area. If the romaine lettuce is not labeled with a harvest growing region and harvest date, do not buy, serve, sell, or eat it. If you are unable to determine the source of your romaine lettuce, the product should be sent back to your supplier or thrown away.

Restaurants and retailers should always practice safe food handling and preparation measures. It is recommended that food handlers wash hands, utensils, and surfaces with hot, soapy water before and after handling food.