UPDATED: CDC warns against romaine in E. coli outbreak
See related story: Federal agencies to industry: stop shipping romaine
UPDATED 4 p.m.: National health authorities are telling consumers, retailers and restaurants to avoid romaine lettuce in yet another E. coli outbreak with cases in 11 states and Canada.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that 32 people in the U.S. and 11 in Canada have been infected with the same E. coli 0157:H7 — and the DNA fingerprint is the same as the strain identified in a 2017 outbreak linked to romaine in Canada and to leafy greens in the U.S.
As in that outbreak, and a subsequent deadly E. coli outbreak linked to romaine lettuce from Yuma, Ariz., this year, no common grower, supplier, distributor or brand of romaine has been identified, so the CDC is advising against any of the lettuce being consumed.
The warning comes as the industry continues to feel the effects of lost sales tied to the most recent romaine outbreak, which killed five people and sickened more than 200.
According to the United Fresh Produce Association, the CDC advised this involves "all types or uses of romaine lettuce, such as whole heads of romaine, hearts of romaine, and bags and boxes of pre-cut lettuce and salad mixes that contain romaine, including baby romaine, spring mix, and Caesar salad.”
The CDC, Food and Drug Administration, state public health and regulatory agencies and Canadian health agencies are investigating the outbreak. Illnesses in the U.S. were first reported Oct. 8, and the last one was Oct. 31. In Canada, illnesses have been reported from Oct. 15-Nov.1.
The CDC has already completed whole genome sequencing on bacteria from those who have fallen ill, according to the release, and results indicate they likely share a common source of infection. California has the most cases, but the other 10 states are east of the Mississippi River, according to a CDC map of people who have fallen ill. There have been no deaths reported in connection with the outbreak.