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The CDC issues a Romaine lettuce recall for E.coli

By Rachel Brooks___Telegraph Local____see my blog 

The CDC has issued a Romaine lettuce recall posted on November 26 as a mass infectious E. coil outbreak has contaminated the lettuce. 67 cases of E.coli have been reported across 19 States where the produce was distributed. As of November 28, two brands have also recalled specific types of flour for E.coli.

Sellers are advised to pull all Romaine sourced from Salinas, California off their store shelves. This includes the following types: whole heads of romaine, organic romaine, hearts of romaine, romaine in salad wraps, and precut lettuce and salad mixes containing romaine. Salad mixes include baby romaine, spring mix, and Caesar salad. 

Salinas, CA in the growing fields CC BY 3.0 license

If the label says “grown in Salinas” by itself or listed as a series of places where the lettuce was sourced, you should not eat it.  Dispose of it. Likewise, the CDC advises disposing of any lettuce that has no discernible sourcing label. In addition to this, if you are uncertain whether the lettuce in a chopped salad mix is romaine or not, you should dispose of it.  

Stacking may cross-contaminate in a recall. Check the stores tagging, see above left, for sourcing info. CC0

 If you have recently purchased Romaine lettuce, you will need to refer to the plastic packaging the lettuce head typically sells in for information on the source location. It can also be available via a sticker on the band which ties the leaves of the lettuce head together. 

Because E.coli is a bacterial disease passed through water it can cross-contaminate your other grocery items. Empty your refrigerator that previously contained romaine lettuce sourced from Salinas. 

Citing the CDC, cleaning requires these steps: throw out the recalled food including foods you have mixed with it, place in a sealed garbage bag, wash any reusable containers the food was stored in with hot, soapy water. Remove all items from the refrigerator and place them on the countertops or table. Do not leave this food out of refrigeration for more than 2 hours. Take out all removable refrigerator parts and wash them with hot, soapy water. Be careful to let glass come to room temperature before submerging it directly under hot water. Otherwise, it can crack. Finally, use a solution of one tablespoon liquid bleach, and one-gallon water to sanitize the surface area of your refrigerator. You can now reassemble. 

Once you are finished, wash your hands in warm and soapy water to rid any cross-contamination of bacteria from your skin. 

What do you if you have already been exposed to E.coli? The Food Safety organization of the United Kingdom has developed some incites. Escherichia Coli (a.k.a. E.coli) is a bacteria found in the intestines of animals and humans. Some E.coli is relatively harmless. When E.Coli creates foodborne illness, it typically comes from a strain of the bacteria known as E.coli O157. Vero cytotoxin E.coli (VTEC) O157 releases toxins that destroy red blood cells. This can cause a medical condition called Hemolytic_Uremic Syndrome (HUS) and kidney failure. 

Citing Mayo Clinic, symptoms of HUS will include extreme fatigue, pallor, shortness of breath, easy and unexplained bruising, random nose of mouth bleeds, decreased or bloody urine, swelling of the feet, legs, hands, or any part of the body. Called edema. Cofusion, seizures, stroke and high blood pressure. 

These are all serious symptoms. If you suspect you have eaten romaine that has been contaminated by E.coli then you should be vigilant for early HUS symptoms. Decreased urine output, swelling, unexplained bruises, unusual nose bleeds, or extreme fatigue. If one or more of these symptoms are present, you should see a physician immediately. 

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