E. coli outbreaks, primarily of the O157 variety, have been associated with lettuce or spinach, specifically “pre-washed” and “ready-to-eat” varieties, and are by no means a new phenomenon. By way of illustration:

August 1993 – E. coli O157:H7 outbreak linked to a salad bar; 53 reported cases in Washington State

July 1995 – Lettuce (leafy green; red; romaine) E. coli O157:H7; 70 reported cases in Montana

September 1995 – Lettuce (romaine) E. coli O157:H7; 20 reported cases in Idaho

September 1995 – Lettuce (iceberg) E. coli O157:H7; 30 reported cases in Maine

October 1995 – Lettuce (iceberg; unconfirmed) E. coli O157:H7; 11 reported cases in Ohio

May-June 1996 – Lettuce (mesclun; red leaf) E. coli O157:H7; 61 reported cases in Connecticut, Illinois, and New York

May 1998 – Salad E. coli O157:H7; two reported cases in California

February.-March 1999 – Lettuce (iceberg) E. coli O157:H7; 72 reported cases in Nebraska

July-August 2002 – Lettuce (romaine) E. coli O157:H7; 29 reported cases in Washington and Idaho

October 2003-May 2004 – Lettuce (mixed salad) E. coli O157:H7; 57 reported cases in California

April 2004 – Spinach E. coli O157:H7; 16 reported cases in California

September 2005 – Lettuce (romaine) E. coli O157:H7; 32 reported cases in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Oregon

September 2006 – Spinach E. coli O157:H7; 205 case (five deaths) nationwide

November 2006 – Lettuce E. coli O157:H7; New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania; 71 sickened

December 2006 – Lettuce E. coli O157:H7; Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin; 81 ill

May 2008 – Lettuce E. coli O157:H7; Washington; 9 ill

But we all know that the list is not fully complete, nor does not end there.  There have been may others sickened in produce-related outbreaks of E. coli O157:H7, Salmonella, and other dangerous bugs.  For a good look at "leafy green" outbreaks, check out www.outbreakdatabase.com.