According to Consumer Reports, 58 people in the U.S. and Canada have recently become ill from a dangerous strain of E. coli bacteria and it is thought to come from people eating romaine lettuce.
13 states in the United States have reported the infections (California, Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Vermont, and Washington state). The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have reported that five people have been hospitalized and one person has died. One death in Canada related to the E. coli outbreak has also been reported.
Canadian health officials are advising residents of the country’s eastern provinces to avoid romaine lettuce and use other greens for the time being. While U.S. health officials have not gone so far as to advise avoiding romaine, Consumer Reports is specifically recommending that U.S. residents avoid the green as well.
According to the Consumer Reports director of Food Safety and Research, James Rogers, Ph.D., “Even though we can’t say with 100 percent certainty that romaine lettuce is the cause of the E. coli outbreak in the U.S., a greater degree of caution is appropriate given that lettuce is almost always consumed raw.”
Young children, the elderly, and people with compromised immune systems are the most vulnerable.