Panera finds new provider for romaine lettuce after E. coli concerns

35 sick from E. Coli outbreak traced to romaine lettuce

Chopped Romaine Lettuce Unsafe? Multistate E. Coli Outbreak Linked To Vegetable

Fresh Food Manufacturing Co., based in Freedom, Pennsylvania, recalled 8,757 pounds of ready-to-eat salad after being notified by their lettuce supplier that it may be contaminated with E. Coli O157:H7, according to the USDA. No one has died.

Health and food safety officials are advising consumers who have store-bought chopped romaine lettuce, including prepackaged salad mixes, to throw the vegetables away even if they've been partially eaten.

Twenty-two of those affected had to be hospitalized in the current outbreak, including three with kidney failure, CR reported.

The restaurants reported using bagged, chopped romaine lettuce to make salads. She has been diagnosed with hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a potentially fatal form of kidney failure that can result from E. coli infection.

In the salmonella case, Rose Acre Farms has recalled more than 200 million eggs that were distributed in nine states: Colorado, Florida, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia.

Numerous cases so far were contracted from salad mixes used in restaurants, but some cases have been linked to bagged romaine purchased in stores.

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In New Jersey, seven people in four counties have contracted E. coli related to the outbreak - including four in Hunterdon County, and one each in Monmouth, Sussex and Somerset counties, according to state health officials.

Lettuce from restaurants is suspected to be affected, as well as bagged and pre-chopped lettuce from stores.

If you can't confirm the source of the romaine lettuce, do not buy it or eat it, says the CDC. No such advisories are in place for unpackaged romaine; packaged romaine heads or hearts that are not chopped; or for any romaine products grown in California. "The leafy greens community takes the responsibility for producing fresh produce very seriously".

The symptoms of Shiga toxin-producing E. coli infections vary, but usually include severe and painful stomach cramps and bloody diarrhea. HUS is the most serious E. coli symptom, to which children under 5 and senior citizens are most vulnerable. Thirty-two people from a dozen states were sickened, CDC said.

Most strains of E.coli are harmless but O157: H7 is known to cause more severe illness. A woman who was sickened with E. coli after eating a salad at Panera has filed a lawsuit against Panera and its lettuce supplier, Freshway Foods. Some of its types are pathogenic that can cause illness through exposure to contaminated food or water, or contact with animals or other people.

State and local health department officials are investigating multiple reports of E. coli infections likely linked to chopped romaine lettuce.

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