New E. coli Illnesses Linked to Fresh Express Salad Kits Could Contain Salinas Romaine Lettuce
U.S. and Canadian health officials are currently investigating a multistate outbreak of Escherichia coli O157:H7 infections, again believed to be caused by contaminated leafy greens.
A notice published by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) late Monday points the finger at Fresh Express Sunflower Crisp chopped salad kits.
So far, a total of 8 illnesses have been confirmed in three states. Three of the individuals had to be hospitalized, with one developing hemolytic uremic syndrome, a type of kidney failure. No deaths have been reported. The case patients report that illnesses started on dates ranging from November 5, 2019 to November 15, 2019.
The affected products bear UPC code 0 71279 30906 4 and begin with lot code Z. Products with a best-before date up to and including 07DEC19 are affected. This information is printed on the front of the bag in the top right corner.
Consumers in possession of these specific salad kits are urged to throw them away, even if the product has been opened and partially consumed already. Retailers are urged not to serve or sell the affected salad kit products. The Public Health Agency of Canada has also issued the same warnings to consumers in Canada.
CDC says that the investigation is ongoing to determine what ingredient in the salad kit was contaminated. Romaine lettuce is one of the ingredients in the salad kit, but CDC says they do not know yet if this outbreak is related to a current outbreak linked to romaine lettuce from the Salinas, CA, growing region.
A U.S. Food and Drug Administration statement says that this outbreak strain found in case patients is different from the outbreak strain of the larger E. coli O157:H7 outbreak linked to romaine from the Salinas, CA, growing region. Preliminary information indicates that the romaine lettuce in the salad kits eaten by some sick people may have contained romaine from the Salinas growing region, though the romaine and other ingredients in the kit may have come from another growing region as well.