AUGUSTA – Food safety professionals at the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry are joining their counterparts around the country to urge caution regarding chopped romaine lettuce following reports of a multi-state outbreak of E. coli bacteria that has resulted in multiple illnesses and hospitalizations in a growing number of states.
Although there have been no reports to the Department of any illnesses in Maine, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “illnesses that occurred after March 29, 2018, might not yet be reported due to the time it takes between when a person becomes ill with E. coli and when the illness is reported. This takes an average of two to three weeks.”
From the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention –
Multistate Outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 Infections Linked to Chopped Romaine Lettuce
Information collected to date indicates that chopped romaine lettuce from the Yuma, Arizona growing region could be contaminated with E. coli O157:H7 and could make people sick.
At this time, no common grower, supplier, distributor, or brand has been identified.
Advice to Consumers:
Consumers anywhere in the United States who have store-bought chopped romaine lettuce at home, including salads and salad mixes containing chopped romaine lettuce, should not eat it and should throw it away, even if some of it was eaten and no one has gotten sick. If you do not know if the lettuce is romaine, do not eat it and throw it away.
Before purchasing romaine lettuce at a grocery store or eating it at a restaurant, confirm with the store or restaurant that it is not chopped romaine lettuce from the Yuma, Arizona growing region. If you cannot confirm the source of the romaine lettuce, do not buy it or eat it.
Detailed information on the outbreak is available at: https://www.cdc.gov/ecoli/2018/o157h7-04-18/index.html