Food Safety Magazine

News | May 2, 2018

One Death Caused by Romaine Lettuce as E. coli Outbreak Spreads

By Staff

One Death Caused by Romaine Lettuce as E. coli Outbreak Spreads

One death has been linked to the multistate Escherichia coli O157:H7 outbreak caused by romaine lettuce in the U.S., according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC’s) last outbreak update dated May 2.

The death was reported in California.

At the time of CDC’s notice, the outbreak had spread to 121 people in 25 states. Fifty-two people have been hospitalized.

As previously reported, data indicates that the contaminated romaine lettuce originated from the Yuma, AZ, growing region. Also, the outbreak that has taken place in an Alaska correctional facility has been linked to Yuma-based Harrison Farms. However, FDA has not associated that farm with the rest of the multistate outbreak affecting 24 other states. 

CDC believes that the outbreak may continue because of the time between when a person becomes ill with E. coli and when the illness is reported to CDC.

Consumers are still being advised not to eat or buy romaine lettuce unless you can confirm that it did not come from the Yuma growing region. Restaurants and retailers are also instructed not to sell or serve romaine lettuce, and to check with their suppliers regarding where their romaine lettuce is sourced. CDC’s warning applies to whole heads and hearts of romaine, chopped romaine, baby romaine, organic romaine, and salads and salad mixes containing romaine lettuce. If you are unsure what type of lettuce is in your possession, it is best to throw it away.

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