Editor's note: This story was most recently updated on Dec. 20, 2019, with new details and an updated number of illnesses.
Nov. 21, 2019 -- The federal government is warning consumers not to purchase or consume any romaine lettuce from the Salinas, CA, growing region after the recall in November of premade salads sold across the country.
The CDC says as of Dec. 19 that 138 people across 25 states infected with E. coli are linked to the outbreak. Fifty-eight of them have been hospitalized, and 10 developed a type of kidney failure. No deaths have been reported. The state and federal investigation has identified one grower linked to the outbreak in Salinas.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service and the CDC say most romaine products sold at retail stores include a label showing where the lettuce was harvested. If the lettuce says "Salinas" or something similar, do not purchase or eat it, the agencies say. The threat is severe enough that the agencies say if you cannot tell where the lettuce came from, throw it away or return it to the store.
Last week, more than 48 tons of premade salads sold at national chains around the country were recalled over fears of E. coli contamination.
This particular strain, E. coli 0157:H7 is considered a more serious infection. Meanwhile, health officials in Wisconsin reported Dec. 6 that they discovered E. coli 0157 in an unopened bag of Fresh Express brand Leafy Green Romaine salad from Salinas in an sick person's home. Further testing confirmed the strain of E. coli found in that bag matched strains that sickened people in Wisconsin and elsewhere. However, no single brand or type of lettuce has been connected to all of the cases.
Meanwhile, these cases appear separate from the outbreak of E. coli 0157:H7 tied to Fresh Express Sunflower Crisp Chopped Salad kits also announced in December. Those kits include romaine also grown in Salinas, but health officials say it includes a different strain of E. coli.
Missa Bay LLC of Swedesboro, NJ, recalled 97,272 pounds of salads with meat or poultry because the lettuce may be contaminated. The products were made from Oct. 14 through Oct. 16 and are stamped “EST. 18502B” inside the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) inspection mark.
The salads were shipped to distribution centers in Alabama, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Virginia, and Wisconsin.
The recall includes salads sold at Aldi, Target, and Walmart stores, and at Domino’s Pizza, among others. For a full list of retailers, visit this U.S. Department of Agriculture website.
This larger recall comes after the Maryland Department of Health announced seven patients there were infected by E. coli from salads sold at Sam’s Clubs there. Those salads had the same establishment number -- “EST. 18502B” -- as the products in the Missa Bay recall.
Anyone with questions about the recall should call Mary Toscano, consumer affairs manager for Bonduelle, Missa Bay’s parent company, at 800-800-7822.