WebMD Health News

CDC: E. Coli Infections Linked to Romaine Recall

fresh heads of romaine lettuce

Editor's note: This story was most recently updated on Dec. 4, 2019, to include illnesses attributed to romaine lettuce and new warnings from federal agencies. 

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 last week of premade salads sold across the country. 

The CDC says 102 people across 23 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 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.

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.

E. coli typically causes diarrhea, often bloody,and vomiting. Some cases last longer and become severe. Most people recover within a week.

Anyone with questions about the recall should call Mary Toscano, consumer affairs manager for Bonduelle, Missa Bay’s parent company, at 800-800-7822.

WebMD Health News Reviewed by Arefa Cassoobhoy, MD, MPH on November 21, 2019

Sources

USDA.gov: “Missa Bay, LLC Recalls Salad Products Due to Possible E. coli O157:H7 Contamination.”

USDA.gov: "FSIS Issues Public Health Alert for Products Produced With Romaine From the Salinas, California, Growing Region."

CDC: "Outbreak of E. coli Infections Linked to Romaine Lettuce."

© 2019 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved.