Romaine Lettuce from California Causes 138 Cases of E. Coli Food Poisoning Nationwide
Dozens of people across the country have been hospitalized after eating romaine lettuce grown in the Salinas, California, region. According to Newsweek, there have been at least 138 cases of food poisoning reported in 25 states across the country, from California on the West Coast to North Carolina on the East Coast – including 72 hospitalizations. Each of these cases has been linked to an E. coli outbreak first announced in November. The most recent case was reported on Dec. 1, 2019.
Lettuce Still Unsafe
This week, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued an update on the situation. As federal food safety officials continue to investigate this issue, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is advising people to avoid eating products grown in Salinas, which may not be safe to eat.
On Nov. 21, the U.S. Department of Agriculture issued a notice recalling more than 75,000 pounds of salad products containing meat or poultry from the manufacturer Missa Bay. Since the investigations have all led to a common grower in Salinas, the FDA is advising against eating romaine lettuce if they don’t know where it was grown. The only types of lettuce that have been deemed safe are those produced hydroponically or in a greenhouse.
How E. Coli Affects Us
Some strains of E. coli can cause people to become violently ill. Symptoms of an E. coli infection include bloody diarrhea, abdominal cramps, vomiting and nausea. Most people recover from this illness within a week. However, as evidenced in this outbreak, people may require hospitalization in severe cases. Some may even develop a potentially life-threatening form of kidney failure called hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). Those who are particularly vulnerable to serious E. coli effects include younger children, the elderly and those with compromised immune systems. So far, 13 people nationwide have developed HUS as the result of the romaine lettuce outbreak.
If you or a loved one is experiencing symptoms of E. coli poisoning, it is important that you seek prompt medical attention. Report the illness to your local healthcare agency, which tracks these types of illnesses. Save any store receipts or restaurant receipts for food you may have purchased that caused your illness. If you have any of the suspect food left, isolate and preserve it so it can be tested in a lab for the presence of pathogens. Contact an experienced California food poisoning lawyer who can help you better understand your legal rights and options.