U.S. health officials are warning people to stay away from romaine as an investigation into the link between the lettuce and an E. coli outbreak takes place.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention tweeted an "outbreak alert" on Tuesday afternoon that read, "Do not eat any romaine lettuce, including whole heads and hearts, chopped, organic and salad mixes with romaine until we learn more. If you don’t know if it’s romaine or can’t confirm the source, don’t eat it."
Outbreak Alert: Do not eat any romaine lettuce, including whole heads and hearts, chopped, organic and salad mixes with romaine until we learn more. If you don’t know if it’s romaine or can’t confirm the source, don’t eat it. https://t.co/NrFOIxG8hx pic.twitter.com/FuzkHv4bd3- CDC (@CDCgov) November 20, 2018
The CDC also told consumers to throw away any romaine they may already have bought, even if some of it was eaten and no one has gotten sick. Stores and restaurants should not sell or serve it. It is also suggested that areas where the lettuce was stored be washed and sanitized.
According the CDC, the E. coli outbreak has sickened 32 people in 11 states. It has not caused any deaths yet, but did send 13 people to the hospital. Of those, one patient developed hemolytic uremic syndrome, a type of kidney failure.
The Public Health Agency of Canada has also reported 18 people infected with the same strain of E. coli.
The origin of the outbreak is unknown, according to The Washington Post, and the CDC's warning was not limited to any particular area. The Food and Drug Administration issued a statement claiming they're making an effort to test romaine for contamination all across the U.S.
“The quick and aggressive steps we’re taking today are aimed at making sure we get ahead of this emerging outbreak, to reduce risk to consumers, and to help people protect themselves and their families from this foodborne illness outbreak," said FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb. "This is especially important ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday, when people will be sitting down for family meals.”
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