CHICAGO (CBS) — Two days before families across America sit down for big Thanksgiving meals, the CDC is warning people not to eat romaine lettuce of any kind, due to an outbreak of E. coli infections.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 32 people have become ill from a strain of Shiga toxin-producing E. coli in 11 states from Oct. 8 through Oct. 31. Thirteen of those people were hospitalized, including one who suffered kidney failure. In addition, at least 18 people in Canada have been infected with E. coli in Ontario and Quebec.
All of those cases have been linked to romaine lettuce, and the CDC said consumers should not eat any romaine lettuce of any kind, as “no common grower, supplier, distributor, or brand of romaine lettuce has been identified.”
“CDC is advising that U.S. consumers not eat any romaine lettuce, and retailers and restaurants not serve or sell any, until we learn more about the outbreak. This investigation is ongoing and the advice will be updated as more information is available,” according to a CDC alert. “Consumers who have any type of romaine lettuce in their home should not eat it and should throw it away, even if some of it was eaten and no one has gotten sick.”
The alert covers all forms of romaine lettuce, including whole heads, hearts, bags and boxes of precut romaine, and salad mixes containing romaine.
“If you do not know if the lettuce is romaine or whether a salad mix contains romaine, do not eat it and throw it away,” the CDC said. “Wash and sanitize drawers or shelves in refrigerators where romaine was stored. Follow these five steps to clean your refrigerator.”