PSA: Throw Away Your Romaine Lettuce Right Now

An E. coli outbreak has infected at least 60 people across 16 states.

By Ethan L. Johns
April 23, 2018

Image: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Put down that romaine salad and throw it in the bin, unless you know exactly where the lettuce came from.

The Centers for Disease Control and the Food and Drug Administration continue to hunt for the source of an E. coli outbreak that has so far infected over 50 people. On Friday, the CDC advised American consumers to discard any and all romaine lettuce of unknown origin that they might have at home, especially if it was grown in Yuma, Arizona.

The CDC had originally advised against eating chopped romaine, but the warnings now include whole heads and hearts.

The official infection count is still at 53 across 16 states, with Idaho, Pennsylvania and New Jersey among the hardest-hit. An eight additional cases came to light at a prison in Nome, Alaska, after the prisoners’ illnesses were traced back to romaine lettuce that came from Yuma.

No conclusions have been made, and the government is still investigating the source of the outbreak.

“Romaine has a short shelf life and the winter growing season is ending in Yuma,” wrote FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb on Twitter. “It’s likely that any romaine sold now is from California, not AZ. Consumers should continue asking grocers and restaurants to make sure their romaine isn't from Yuma.”

Symptoms of E. coli include stomach cramps, vomiting and diarrhea. The CDC recommends that you contact your doctor if you experience these symptoms for more than three days.

We love romaine as much as the next folks, but until this case is closed, we’ll be sticking to spinach.

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About Ethan L. Johns

Ethan is the Food News Writer at Genius Kitchen. An expert on the Parisian bistrot, he likes bitters and salted butters, and is no fan of dessert unless it's made with fruit. His hobbies include reading up on the history of borscht and attempting to roll perfect couscous by hand. Twits & Instagram @EthanLJohns