As of November 21, 32 people in US and 19 people in Canada are reported to have got infected with E. coli bacteria. All the cases of infections are linked to romaine lettuce.

Keep romaine lettuce off the table

The ongoing outbreak of E. coli infection in US and Canada has forced the US Centers for Disease Prevention and Cure (CDC) to issue a rare food safety alert against the use of romaine lettuce.

The CDC has warned all US consumers, restaurants and retailer to NOT to eat or use romaine lettuce and salad mixes that may contain any romaine lettuce. If you are not sure – if a food contains romaine lettuce or not – the advisory is clear – DO NOT EAT, SELL or SERVE the food. Throw it away. And, clean your refrigerators.

How to clean your refrigerator after a food recall

The CDC, FDA, health officials in several states and PHA of Canada are investigating a multi-state outbreak of E. coli infections. As of November 21, 32 people in US and 19 people in Canada are reported to have got infected with a special strain of E. coli bacteria. Of the 32 US cases, 13 were hospitalized, including one who has developed a serious kidney condition. Most of them reported eating romaine lettuce.

Here’s what you need to know

  1. Do NOT eat, sell or serve any romaine lettuce. If you do not know if a lettuce is romaine or if a salad mix contains romaine, throw it away.
  2. Throw away any type of romaine lettuce that you have. It includes whole heads of romaine, hearts of romaine and bags and boxes of precut lettuce and salad mixes that contain romaine.
  3. Clean your refrigerators, especially the drawers and shelves where you stored the lettuce.
  4. Retailers and restaurants should not sell or serve romaine lettuce, including items containing romaine.
  5. People usually get sick from this type of E. coli infection in 2-8 days after swallowing the germ. Antibiotics are not recommended for patients with suspected E. coli infection of this type.

The E. coli O157 infection

The E. coli O157 strain is more likely than others to cause severe illness. The one most at risk are – pregnant women, young children, older adults and those with weakened immune systems.

Most patients, who become ill from the E. coli O157 strain recover by themselves; however, some may develop medical conditions that require hospitalization. The infection also carries the risk of long-lasting health effects.


If you have had romaine lettuce in last few days look for the symptoms listed below. They appear within one to ten days after consuming the germ. Most would end within five to ten days. However, if the symptoms persist, you should contact your health provider.

The list of symptoms if you are infected with E. coli:

  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • headache
  • mild fever
  • severe stomach cramps
  • watery or bloody diarrhea

For more information, visit: Symptoms of E. coli Infection.