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Consumer Reports: Avoid Romaine Lettuce After E. Coli Cases In Connecticut

Romaine lettuce may be the source of an E. coli outbreak in the United States.
Romaine lettuce may be the source of an E. coli outbreak in the United States. Photo Credit: File

Food safety experts at Consumer Reports are advising people in the U.S. and Canada to stop eating romaine lettuce after an outbreak of E. coli, including at least two cases in Connecticut.

In the past seven weeks, at least 58 people in the U.S. and Canada have become ill from E. coli believed to be linked to romaine lettuce. 

One person in each country has died. 

In the U.S., the infections have been confirmed in 13 states — California, Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Vermont, and Washington.

At least two Connecticut cases were reported to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Until the cause of the current outbreak is known and the food is removed from shelves, Consumer Report’s experts say consumers should avoid eating any romaine lettuce. 

Neither the U.S. Food and Drug Administration nor the CDC has made that recommendation.

The source of the E. coli food poisoning is being investigated by FDA and CDC, along with public health officials in Canada. 

Canadian health authorities identified romaine lettuce as the source of the outbreak in their country, and since Dec. 14 have been advising people in the country’s eastern provinces to consider eating other types of salad greens until further notice. 

In the U.S., government health officials are investigating the outbreaks, but have stopped short of recommending people avoid romaine lettuce or any other food.

“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 greater degree of caution is appropriate given that romaine lettuce is almost always consumed raw,” said James Rogers, director of food safety and research at Consumer Reports.

Symptoms of E. coli include stomach cramps, diarrhea, and vomiting. 

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