In recent days, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has expanded a warning about romaine lettuce, telling people to stay away from it completely for now.
At least 53 people in 16 states have been sickened over the past few months, the CDC said Friday in an updated advisory to consumers. The illnesses are due to an outbreak of E. coli, which was initially traced to bagged, chopped lettuce from Yuma, Arizona.
But now the agency says “no common grower, supplier, distributor, or brand has been identified” as the culprit.
53 people ill from romaine lettuce — here’s how to stay safe
“Based on new information, CDC is expanding its warning to consumers to cover all types of romaine lettuce from the Yuma, Arizona growing region,” the agency says.”This warning now includes whole heads and hearts of romaine lettuce, in addition to chopped romaine and salad mixes containing romaine.”
The illness seems to affect more women than men, according to USA Today. More than 70% of those sickened by this outbreak have been women, the newspaper reports, with diet being the most likely factor.
Of the 53 people sickened, 31 of them have been hospitalized, including “five people who have developed a type of kidney failure called hemolytic uremic syndrome,” the CDC says.
Now you may be thinking that premade salads and salad mixes may be all right, but the agency says if it contains chopped romaine lettuce, it may be best not to eat it unless you know exactly where it’s from.
Don’t want to turn over a new leaf? If you want to continue to enjoy romaine lettuce, here are four must-dos:
Romaine lettuce scare: 4 things you should do now
- Before you go to your local grocery store and pick up some romaine lettuce or eat it at a restaurant, you should confirm with the store or eatery that it is not chopped romaine lettuce from the Yuma, Arizona growing region
- If you’ve already bought chopped romaine lettuce from anywhere in the United States, the CDC says you “should not eat it and should throw it away, even if some of it was eaten and no one has gotten sick.”
- The CDC is also asking any restaurants not to sell romaine lettuce from the Yuma region.
- Don’t know if it’s romaine? Throw it away. Better to be safe than sorry.