The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Tuesday said the public should not eat romaine lettuce as a result of a multistate E. coli outbreak. The WCHD agrees.

At least 32 people have gotten sick and 13 have been hospitalized as a result of an outbreak believed to be connected to romaine lettuce, according to the FDA. So far, 11 states have reported cases, the latest onset of which was dated October 31st.

The statement from the FDA:

"A traceback investigation" is underway to find the source of the romaine lettuce consumed by individuals who became ill, according to the agency. They added that the information they currently have is too limited to make a targeted recall.

At this stage in the investigation, the most efficient way to ensure that contaminated romaine [lettuce] is off the market would be for [the] industry to voluntarily withdraw product from the market, and to withhold distribution of romaine until public health authorities can ensure the outbreak is over and/or until FDA can identify a specific source of contamination."

Winnebago County Health Department (WCHD):

The Winnebago County Health Department (WCHD) would like to notify the public that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are investigating a multistate outbreak of Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli O157:H7 (E. Coli 0157:H7) infections linked to romaine lettuce.

No cases connected to this outbreak have been reported in Winnebago County, however, there is the potential for illness from romaine lettuce.

To protect yourself and your family, the WCHD advises:

  • Do not eat any romaine lettuce
  • Do not serve or sell any romaine lettuce
  • Throw away romaine lettuce, even if some of the lettuce was eaten and no one has gotten sick, Including heads of romaine lettuce, hearts of romaine, bags and boxes of pre-cut lettuce and salad mixes that contain romaine lettuce. If you do not know if romaine lettuce is included, throw the mix away
  • Wash storage containers, utensils and shelves in the refrigerator where lettuce was stored or which may have come in contact with the lettuce.
  • If you have eaten lettuce, watch for symptoms of Shiga toxin-producing E. Coli infection which include severe stomach cramps, bloody diarrhea, and vomiting. You may not notice symptoms right away as it may take anywhere for 1 to 10 days for you to start feeling ill. Some infections are severe and can be life-threatening.

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