November 22, 2020

History of Romaine E. coli Outbreaks Over the Last Three Years

There has not yet been a romaine E. coli outbreak in the United States in 2020, but the year isn’t over yet. Let’s take a look back at the history of romaine E. coli outbreaks, including leafy greens, over the past three years. There was one outbreak in 2017, two in 2018 and three in 2019.

History of Romaine E. coli Outbreaks Over the Last Three Years

In all of these outbreaks, the romaine lettuce in question was harvested either in the Yuma Arizona region or in the Central California region of the country. Many recalls were issued in regards to all of these outbreaks. This is the history of romaine E. coli outbreaks over the past three years.

Leafy Greens E. coli O157:H7 Outbreak in 2017

In November  2017, the CDC announced and E. coli O157:H7 outbreak linked to leafy greens. At least twenty-five people in 15 states were sickened. Nine people were hospitalized, and two developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a type of kidney failure. One person living in California died.

While the U.S. investigation was not able to identify a specific type of leafy greens as the source of this outbreak, the Public Health Agency of Canada also investigated a STEC O157:H7 outbreak in that country that was linked to romaine lettuce. Whole genome sequencing showed that the E. coli that made people sick in both countries was closely related genetically which indicates they were likely to share a common source of infection. But the source of the romaine lettuce was not identified.

Deadly Romaine E. coli Outbreak Sickens 210 Summer 2018

In the summer of 2018, a huge romaine E. coli O157:H7 outbreak sickened at least 210 people in 36 states. Ninety-six people were hospitalized, 27 developed HUS, and five people, who lived in Arkansas, Minnesota, California, and New York, died. Epidemiologic, laboratory, and traceback evidence found that romaine lettuce harvested in the Yuma, Arizona growing region was the likely source of this outbreak.

The government found the outbreak strain of E. coli O157:H7 in canal water samples taken from that growing region. An investigation into how the pathogen could have contaminated the romaine lettuce is ongoing.

Fall 2018 E. coli Romaine Outbreak Sickens 62

A second outbreak in the fall of 2018 that was linked to romaine lettuce harvested in California sickened at least 62 people in 16 states and Washington D.C. Twenty-five people were hospitalized, and two developed HUS.

The government found the outbreak strain of E. coli O157:H7 in sediment at the bottom of and agricultural water reservoir on and Adams Bros. farm in Santa Barbara. Several recalls were issued in relation to this outbreak. And federal and state officials told consumers to avoid eating all romaine lettuce at the height of the outbreak until more was discovered about the leafy green’s origin.

Romaine E. coli Outbreak Fall 2019 Sickens 167

Another romaine E. coli outbreak in the fall of 2019 sickened 167 people in 27 states. Eighty-five people were hospitalized, and fifteen developed hemolytic uremic syndrome.

While several recalls were issued during the outbreak, no specific grower or producer was named by the government, although the likely source of the outbreak was romaine harvested from the Salinas, California growing region.

The Maryland Department of Health found the outbreak strain of E. coli O157:H7 in an unopened package of Ready Pac Bistro Chicken Caesar Salad taken from a patient’s home. And the Wisconsin Department of Health Services found the outbreak strain in an unopened bag of Fresh Express Leafy Romaine.

November 2019 E. coli O157:H7 Outbreak Linked to Fresh Express Sunflower Crisp Chopped Salad Kit

This outbreak, which only lasted for 11 days in November 2019, sickened ten people in five states. Four people were hospitalized; one developed HUS.

Information indicated that Fresh Express Sunflower Crisp Chopped Salad Kit was the likely source of this outbreak. Eight of ten people interviewed said they ate or maybe ate that product before they got sick. Romaine lettuce was one of the ingredients in that kit, but the investigation was not able to determine if romaine was the culprit.

Secret E. coli O157:H7 Romaine Outbreak in 2019

And finally, a secret E. coli O157:H7 outbreak in 2019 that was “likely associated” with romaine lettuce was acknowledged by the FDA after it ended. Twenty-three people in 12 states were sickened in this outbreak. Eleven people were hospitalized.

Illness onset dates ranged from July 12, 2019 to September 8, 2019. No illnesses were reported after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) started investigating the outbreak on September 17, 2019, so that information was not released to the public until more than a month later on October 31 Investigators were sent to California’s central coastal region that was pinpointed during traceback. And once again, no common source or point where the contamination occurred was identified.

Pritzker Hageman Food Safety Lawyers

If you or a loved one have been sickened with an E. coli O157:H7 infection after eating leafy greens or romaine lettuce, please contact our experienced attorneys for help at 1-888-377-8900 or 612-338-0202.

 

Report Your Food Poisoning Case
[contact-form-7 404 "Not Found"]
×
×

Home About Site Map Contact Us Sponsored by Pritzker Hageman, P.A., a Minneapolis, MN law firm that helps food poisoning victims nationally.