Wendy’s Food Poisoning Outbreak May Be Linked to Lettuce Contaminated with E. Coli, CDC Warns

CDC is investigating an E. Coli food poisoning outbreak across four states that has sickened 37 people, most of whom say they ate Wendy's sandwiches with romaine lettuce.

Federal health officials indicate that lettuce from Wendy’s restaurants appears to be the cause of a multistate outbreak of E. Coli food poisoning, which has already sickening nearly 40 people.

While the exact source of the contamination is still being investigated, the U. S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released an E. Coli outbreak update on August 19, indicating that many of the sick individuals report eating Wendy’s sandwiches with romaine lettuce in Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania.

So far, at least 37 cases of food poisoning may be linked to the Wendy’s sandwiches, including at least 10 cases involving illness severe enough to require hospitalization. As a result of the e-coli infection, at least three people suffered kidney failure, but no deaths have been reported.

The outbreak spans the Midwest, sickening people in Indiana, Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania, leading Wendy’s to remove romaine lettuce used in sandwiches from restaurants in that region.

Wendy’s has not yet issued a recall in connection to the outbreak, and investigators are still working to confirm whether the source of the outbreak is in fact romaine lettuce and if it may have also been sold at other businesses.

There is no indication that romaine lettuce sold in grocery stores or served at other restaurants is also a part of the outbreak.

Health officials have said it is not necessary for people to avoid eating at Wendy’s altogether, especially considering the company opted to remove sandwich romaine lettuce from their restaurants.

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An E. Coli outbreak linked to romaine lettuce in 2019 infected 167 people across 27 states. Similarly, lab analysis indicated the same strain of E. Coli that caused that outbreak was also the source of outbreaks in 2018 and a multistate outbreak in 2017 both linked to leafy greens.

Symptoms of E. Coli include cramps, diarrhea, high fever, dehydration, dizziness, and vomiting. Symptoms typically start about three to four days after ingesting the bacteria. Most people who are sickened with E. Coli will recover within a week without needing medical treatment. However, anyone experiencing those symptoms should contact their doctor immediately.


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