Throw out all your romaine lettuce!
That was the Center for Disease Control’s warning to the nation on Tuesday after widespread reports of infections.
The CDC is advising that people should “not eat any romaine lettuce” after 32 reported E. coli. infections in 11 states. The warning comes right before America’s biggest eating holiday, Thanksgiving.
Consumers need to be aware, though, that romaine lettuce can also be present in salad mixes, Caesar salads, and spring mix. If you’re not sure if the lettuce you have in your fridge is romaine or not, throw it out anyway, the CDC says.
If you find romaine in your fridge and chuck it, there’s one more step you’re advised to take. Give any drawers or shelves the romaine has been sitting in or on a good sanitizing to keep E. coli bacteria from spreading anywhere else.
The CDC’s warning also applies to restaurants and grocery stores. If you’re eating out this week, you might want to make sure you’re not being served romaine.
The E. coli infections found so far have been reported in California, Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan, Ohio, New York, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Jersey, and Maryland. The bacteria could be present anywhere, though, in any romaine brand.
What are the symptoms of E. coli?
According to the Mayo Clinic, symptoms can include “diarrhea, which may range from mild and watery to severe and bloody; abdominal cramping, pain or tenderness; and nausea and vomiting, in some people.”
The Mayo Clinic says symptoms typically present themselves three or four days after exposure to E. coli bacteria, but CDC noted that the infection range can be from two to eight days.
The sickness caused by E. coli infections can be severe enough to send somebody to the hospital. No deaths have been reported for this outbreak. Five people died after at least 190 people were infected from an outbreak linked to romaine lettuce earlier this year, Business Insider reported.
What should you do if you think you’re infected?
Talk to your doctor and let them know what you were eating before your sickness. If you are diagnosed with an E. coli infection, report it to the CDC so they can track the outbreak and find the exact source of the problem.