Five Deaths in Romaine Lettuce E. coli Outbreak
On June 1, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced via a U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) update that a total of five deaths have been attributed to the multistate E. coli O157:H7 outbreak linked to romaine lettuce from the Yuma, AZ, growing region. To date, 197 people have been reported sick in 35 states, and 89 people have been hospitalized. The source of the contaminated lettuce is still being investigated.
Previously, one death in California had been associated with the outbreak. The four additional deaths occurred in Arkansas, New York, and two in Minnesota.
Both FDA and CDC have reiterated that the romaine lettuce in question is no longer available for consumption. The last shipments from the Yuma region were harvested in mid-April, and the harvesting season has since ended. Because romaine lettuce has a 21-day shelf life, it is highly unlikely that consumers, restaurants or retailers would still have it in their possession.
FDA, CDC, public health and regulatory officials across the U.S. are continuing to investigate this multistate E. coli outbreak and will continue to provide updates.