For Immediate Release
April 24, 2018; 12:00pm
DPHSS Release No. 2018-035
U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Investigation into Multistate Outbreak of E. Coli 0157:H7 ILLNESSES Likely linked to chopped romaine lettuce grown or originating from Yuma, Arizona
The Division of Environmental Health (DEH) of the Department of Public Health and Social Services wishes to inform the public that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is investigating a multistate outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 illnesses likely linked to chopped romaine lettuce. The most recent information collected by FDA, in conjunction with federal, state, and local partners, indicates that the romaine lettuce that ill people ate was likely grown or originated from the winter growing areas in Yuma, Arizona. No specific grower, supplier, distributor, or brand has been identified at this time.
The FDA recommends that consumers ask grocers, restaurants, and other food service establishments where their romaine lettuce originated, and avoid any romaine lettuce, whether chopped, whole head or hearts, that originated from Yuma, Arizona. If you cannot confirm the source of the romaine lettuce, do not buy it or eat it. If you have already purchased romaine lettuce or products containing romaine lettuce and cannot confirm the source, throw them away.
The FDA is continuing to work with federal, state, and local partners to determine what people ate before they became ill, where they bought and consumed it, and to identify the distribution chain of these foods; all with the goal of identifying any common food or points in the distribution chain where the food might have become contaminated. The FDA is continuing to investigate this outbreak and will share more information as it becomes available.
What are the Symptoms of E. coli O157:H7 Infection?
The symptoms of Shiga toxin-producing (STEC) E. coli infections vary for each person, but often include severe stomach cramps and bloody diarrhea. If there is fever, it is usually not very high (less than 101º F/less than 38.5°C). Most people get better within five to seven days. Some infections are very mild, but others are severe or even life-threatening. Consumers who have symptoms of STEC infection should contact their health care provider to report their symptoms and receive care. Although many infections resolve in five to seven days, they can result in serious illness, including a potentially serious condition called hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS).
What Do Restaurants and Retailers Need to Do?
Retailers, restaurants, and other food service operators should not sell or serve any romaine lettuce from the winter growing areas in Yuma, Arizona. If you cannot determine the source of your romaine lettuce, do not sell or serve it.
Regular frequent cleaning and sanitizing of food contact surfaces and utensils used in food preparation may help to minimize the likelihood of cross-contamination.
For any questions, please contact the Division of Environmental Health at (671) 735-7221.