More People Sickened by Romaine Lettuce E. coli Outbreak
More and more people are still turning up sick from eating romaine lettuce after a nationwide E. coli outbreak linked to the greens. According to a USA Today news report, the total number of people infected is now 52 across 15 states, with California and New Jersey with the most number of cases, each with 11 people sick. Illnesses involving contaminated romaine lettuce have been reported between Oct. 5 and Nov. 18.
Other states where these illnesses have been reported include Michigan (7), New Hampshire (6), New York (6), Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Maryland, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Wisconsin. So far, 19 people have been hospitalized including two who suffered from hemolytic uremic syndrome or HUS that caused kidney failure. No deaths have yet been linked to this outbreak. In addition, health officials in Canada are investigation 27 cases.
Tracing the Outbreak
Last month, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that the contaminated lettuce likely came from California. The agency says romaine lettuce that contains labeling information showing it was harvested outside of the infected area (Central Coast growing regions of northern and central California) is safe to eat. Romaine lettuce grown in greenhouses or hydroponically is also safe to eat, health officials say.
However, health officials have finally traced the outbreak to one farm in central California. Officials said a water reservoir at Adams Brothers Farms in Santa Barbara County tested positive for the bacterial strain. Owners of the farm are cooperating with health officials. The government has also narrowed down the source of the outbreak to three California counties: Santa Barbara, Monterey and San Benito. The FDA said lettuce from other areas harvested after November 23 should be safe to eat.
If You Have Been Sickened
If you or a loved one has become ill as a result of consuming romaine lettuce, it is important that you get prompt medical attention, care and treatment. Report your illness to the local healthcare agency or to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as this outbreak is being tracked nationally. Negligent food producers can be held accountable for tainted food products. Contact an experienced California food poisoning lawyer who will fight hard to get you compensation for damages such as medical expenses, lost wages, hospitalization and pain and suffering.