Romaine salad recall expands amid E. coli outbreak

At least 40 people in 16 states have been infected, some with kidney disease

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Wednesday that it expanded its salad recall. The move comes amid a multistate E. coli outbreak linked to romaine lettuce.

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The lettuce in question was harvested in Salinas, California, the agency said.

“This advice includes all types of romaine lettuce harvested from Salinas, California, such as whole heads of romaine, hearts of romaine and packages of precut lettuce and salad mixes which contain romaine, including baby romaine, spring mix and Caesar salad."

While the recall includes products sold under many different brand names, the CDC said the infected items have “Use By” dates ranging from Oct. 29, 2019, to Nov. 1, 2019. And the products have establishment number “EST. 18502B” inside the U.S. Department of Agriculture mark of inspection. Worried shoppers can visit the USDA website for a full list.

A total of 40 people in 16 states have been infected from the contaminated lettuce, the CDC said. A total of 28 hospitalizations have been reported and five people have developed hemolytic uremic syndrome, a type of kidney failure.

No deaths have been reported.

This latest warning comes days after New Jersey-based produce market Missa Bay recalled more than 75,000 pounds of salad products possibly contaminated with E. coli, and another outbreak in Maryland pinged by the Maryland Department of Health.

In the past four years, there have been at least three major outbreaks, including the highly publicized contamination at restaurant chain Chipotle Mexican Grill, in which about 60 people across 14 states where infected, leaving more than 20 of them hospitalized.

Some estimates note Chipotle lost a whopping $998 million as a result of the epidemic.

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A report from the University of Minnesota estimated salmonella and E. coli cost the country $3.13 billion a year. A separate report from the National Center for Biotechnology Information found the cost of a single foodborne outbreak ranged from $3,968 to $1.9 million for a given fast-food restaurant and up to $2.6 million for a fine-dining restaurant.

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The CDC said it is continuing its investigation to determine the source of contamination and is cautioning people who may be ill to “report to your local health department.”

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