Shredded Romaine Lettuce Recall Issued Over E. Coli Poisoning Outbreak

An E. coli food poisoning outbreak that has sickened at least 19 people in Michigan, Ohio and New York, leading to a recall of shredded romaine lettuce used in salad bars and delis in Kroger, Giant Eagle, Ingles Market and Marsh stores in at least 34 states. 

Freshway Foods, based in Sidney, Ohio, announced the romaine lettuce recall on Thursday, after FDA inspectors found E. coli O145 in an unopened package earlier this week. Of the 19 illnesses linked to the contaminated lettuce so far, 12 people have been hospitalized and three are suffering from life-threatening complications.

The recall affects shredded romaine lettuce with a use by date of May 12 or earlier sold under the Freshway Foods or Imperial Sysco labels to food service outlets, wholesalers, and in-store retail salad bars and delis. The lettuce was distributed throughout Alabama, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.

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Escherichia coli O145 is a bacterial strain that can cause diarrhea which is frequently bloody. While most healthy adults recover within a few weeks from E. coli poisoning, young children and the elderly could be at risk for more severe illness. If the toxin enters the blood stream, E. coli could also lead to kidney failure known as Hemolytic-Uremic Syndrome (HUS).

The FDA recommends that any consumers who purchased romaine lettuce from an in-store salad bar or deli at Kroger, Giant Eagle, Ingles Markets and Marsh stores in the states listed above throw it away immediately. Freshway Foods does not sell bulk romaine lettuce or romaine lettuce in bagged salad mixes, so no such items are affected by the recall.


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