Romaine Lettuce Likely the Source of Recent E. Coli Outbreak
It has affected more than 50 U.S. citizens.
Over the past several weeks, 58 people from 13 states have been infected with a dangerous strain of E. coli bacteria. The outbreak has also affected Canadians, where it has been confirmed that romaine lettuce is the source. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has not identified the cause of the U.S. outbreaks, but says the strain is genetically similar to the bacteria found in Canada. Five people in the U.S. have been hospitalized, and one has died.
Canadian health authorities are advising individuals in eastern provinces, including Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Newfoundland and Labrador to opt for other types of salad greens. But because the CDC hasn’t officially identified the source, they aren’t currently recommending U.S. citizens avoid romaine. Despite the appeal of a Caesar salad, it’s likely smart to switch to kale or arugula, perhaps.
“Even though we can’t say with 100 percent certainty that romaine lettuce is the cause of the E. coli outbreak in the U.S., a great degree of caution is appropriate given that romaine lettuce is almost always consumed raw,” James Rogers, Ph.D., Director of Food Safety and Research at Consumer Reports, said in a statement.
Specifically, the strain of E.coli is 0157:H7, a Shiga toxin-producing strain, meaning it causes disease by making a toxin called Shiga. 0157:H7 is the most commonly identified Shiga toxin-producing E.coli.
If you’re craving a winter salad, we’ve got an assortment of ones to choose from, featuring escarole, endive, radicchio, bok choy, and more of our favorite greens.