Aug. 22, 2022 – Wendy’s is removing romaine lettuce from sandwiches at restaurants in Michigan, Ohio, and Pennsylvania because people became sick after eating them, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.

The CDC is trying to determine the cause of an E. coli outbreak that has sickened at least 37 people in those states plus Indiana. Though no food has been confirmed as the source of the outbreak, Wendy’s is removing the lettuce as “a precautionary measure,” the CDC said.

State and local health officials interviewed 26 of those people about their diet and 22 reported eating at Wendy’s before becoming ill, the CDC said.

“Investigators are working to confirm whether romaine lettuce is the source of this outbreak, and whether romaine lettuce used in Wendy’s sandwiches was served or sold at other businesses,” the CDC said.

The CDC says it is not advising people to avoid eating at Wendy’s or to avoid romaine lettuce. Wendy’s uses a different type of romaine lettuce for salads, the CDC said.

Wendy’s issued this statement: “We are fully cooperating with public health authorities on their ongoing investigation of the regional E. coli outbreak reported in certain midwestern states. While the CDC has not yet confirmed a specific food as the source of that outbreak, we are taking the precaution of discarding and replacing the sandwich lettuce at some restaurants in that region. The lettuce that we use in our salads is different and is not affected by this action.”

Since the week of July 26, the E. coli outbreak has sickened 19 people in Ohio, 15 in Michigan, two in Pennsylvania, and one in Indiana. Ten people were hospitalized and three people in Michigan developed hemolytic uremic syndrome, a type of kidney failure, the CDC said.

The actual number of sick people is probably higher, the CDC says, and the outbreak may include other states because some people recover quickly and don’t seek medical treatment.

E. coli is a bacteria that can live in your intestines. People are usually infected by eating contaminated food or water. Common symptoms include abdominal cramps, nausea, constant fatigue, and diarrhea, which may be bloody.

People usually recover from E. coli infections in a few days, but some E. coli strains can make people extremely sick.