May 21, 2024

FDA Adds Its Voice to Multistate E. coli O157:H7 HUS Outbreak Linked to Chopped Romaine Lettuce

The FDA is adding its voice to the multistate E. coli O157:H7 HUS outbreak that is linked to chopped romaine from the Yuma growing region in Arizona. Last week, Food Poisoning Bulletin told you that government officials did not have a specific food in mind. On Friday, the CDC announced that the chopped greens were the likely source.

E.coli O157:H7 Outbreak

Thirty-five people in 11 states are sick in this E. coli O157:H7 HUS outbreak. Ninety-three percent of the patients interviewed said they ate romaine lettuce the week before they got sick. Most of those people ate salad at a restaurant; romaine lettuce was the common ingredient. The restaurants said they used bagged, chopped romaine lettuce to make the salads.

The FDA, in conjunction with federal, state, and local partners, found that the chopped romaine in question was grown or originated from the winter growing areas in Yuma, Arizona. No specific grower, supplier, distributors, or brand has been identified. But there have been a few recalls issued in connection with this matter. Fresh Foods has recalled salads made with chopped romaine, and Freshway Foods has recalled salads as well.

This is a different E. coli O157:H7 HUS outbreak from the E. coli outbreak that took place from November to December 2017. The DNA fingerprint of the bacteria in that outbreak is different.

The farms in the Yuma, Arizona region supplies romaine lettuce to the country during March through November of each year. There is no information to indicate that whole head romaine lettuce or hearts of romaine are involved in this outbreak.

The symptoms of Shiga toxin-producing E. coli infections vary, but usually include severe and painful stomach cramps and bloody diarrhea. If a fever is present, it is usually less than 101°F. About 5 to 10% of people diagnosed with this illness develop hemolytic uremic syndrome, or HUS. Symptoms of this complication include abdominal pain, lethargy, decreased urination, pallor, and small unexplained bruises or bleeding. Anyone with these symptoms should see a doctor immediately.

If you are purchasing romaine lettuce, or have bought some recently, ask the retailers where it is from. If it is from Yuma, Arizona, or the retailer doesn’t know, do not buy it and do not eat it.

The experienced attorneys from Pritzker Hageman law firm represent and helps people who have been sickened by contaminated food. We get answers, compensation for our clients who have been injured, and justice through our work. Our lawyers represent clients and families of children sickened with bacterial infections in personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits against retailers, grocery stores, food processors, restaurants, daycare centers, schools, and others. Attorney Fred Pritzker and his team recently won $7.5 million for young client whose kidneys failed because of hemolytic uremic syndrome after an E. coli O157:H7 infection. Please note that class action lawsuits are usually not appropriate for outbreak victims because these types of cases are unique.

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