With nearly 450 sickened, 259 hospitalized and 7 deaths, is it time for a Romaine Warning Label?
Or, are the illnesses and deaths simply a cost of doing business?
41 people sickened, 28 hospitalization and 5 with HUS. A total of 40 people infected with the outbreak strain of E. coli O157:H7 have been reported from 16 states: Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Illinois, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin. A total of 28 hospitalizations have been reported. Five people have developed hemolytic uremic syndrome, a type of kidney failure. No deaths have been reported. Canada has reported one illness.
23 people sickened and 11 hospitalized. The FDA, CDC, along with state and local partners, investigated the illnesses associated with the outbreak. A total of 23 people infected with the outbreak strain of E. coli O157:H7 were reported from 12 states: Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, North Carolina, Nevada, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania and South Carolina. Eleven people were hospitalized, and no deaths were reported. Illnesses started on dates ranging from July 12, 2019 to Sept. 8, 2019. No illnesses were reported after CDC began investigating the outbreak on Sept. 17, 2019.
218 people sickened, 96 hospitalized, 27 with HUS and 5 deaths. 210 people infected with the outbreak strain were reported from 36 states. 96 people were hospitalized, including 27 people who developed a type of kidney failure called hemolytic uremic syndrome. 5 deaths were reported from Arkansas, California, Minnesota, and New York. In total, there were eight Canadian cases of E. coli O157 that were genetically similar to the U.S. outbreak linked to romaine lettuce coming from the Yuma growing region in the U.S. The eight Canadian illnesses were reported in five provinces: British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Ontario, and Quebec. Individuals became sick between March and April 2018. One of the Canadian cases was hospitalized, and no deaths were reported in Canada. Individuals who became ill were between 11 and 76 years of age. The majority of cases (75%) were female.
91 people sickened, 35 hospitalized, 4 with HUS. Sixty-two people infected with the outbreak strain of Shiga toxin-producing E. coli O157:H7 were reported from 16 states and the District of Columbia. Illnesses started on dates ranging from October 7, 2018, to December 4, 2018. Twenty-five people were hospitalized, including two people who developed hemolytic uremic syndrome, a type of kidney failure. No deaths were reported. In Canada, there were a total of 29 confirmed cases of E. coli illness investigated in Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, and British Columbia. The illnesses in British Columbia were related to travel to Quebec, Ontario and the United States. Individuals became sick between mid-October and mid-November 2018. Ten individuals were hospitalized, and two individuals suffered from hemolytic-uremic syndrome (HUS), which is a severe complication that can result from an E. coli infection. No deaths were reported. Individuals who became ill were between 2 and 93 years of age. The majority of cases (52%) were female.
76 people sickened, 9 people hospitalized, 2 with HUS and 2 deaths. Twenty-five people infected with the outbreak strain of E. coli O157:H7 were reported from 15 states. Illnesses started on dates ranging from November 5, 2017 to December 12, 2017. Nine people were hospitalized, including two people who developed hemolytic uremic syndrome, a type of kidney failure. One death was reported from California. In total, there were 42 cases of E. coli O157:H7 illness reported in five eastern provinces: Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Newfoundland and Labrador. Individuals became sick in November and early December 2017. Seventeen individuals were hospitalized. One individual died. Individuals who became ill were between the ages of 3 and 85 years of age. The majority of cases (74%) were female.
E. coli outbreaks associated with lettuce, specifically the “pre-washed” and “ready-to-eat” varieties, are by no means a new phenomenon. In fact, the frequency with which this country’s fresh produce consuming public has been hit by outbreaks of pathogenic bacteria is astonishing. Here is just a sample of E. coli outbreaks based on information gathered by the Center for Science in the Public Interest, Kansas State University, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC ) – NOTE: It is very likely that there or dozens of other outbreaks that the CDC and FDA did not make public:
|July 1995||Lettuce (leafy green; red; romaine)||E. coli O157:H7||74||1:MT|
|Sept. 1995||Lettuce (romaine)||E. coli O157:H7||20||1:ID|
|Sept. 1995||Lettuce (iceberg)||E. coli O157:H7||30||1:ME|
|Oct. 1995||Lettuce (iceberg; unconfirmed)||E. coli O157:H7||11||1:OH|
|May-June 1996||Lettuce (mesclun; red leaf)||E. coli O157:H7||61||3:CT, IL, NY|
|May 1998||Salad||E. coli O157:H7||2||1:CA|
|Feb.-Mar. 1999||Lettuce (iceberg)||E. coli O157:H7||72||1:NE|
|Oct. 1999||Salad||E. coli O157:H7||92||3:OR, PA, OH|
|Oct. 2000||Lettuce||E. coli O157:H7||6||1:IN|
|Nov. 2001||Lettuce||E. coli O157:H7||20||1:TX|
|July-Aug. 2002||Lettuce (romaine)||E. coli O157:H7||29||2:WA, ID|
|Nov. 2002||Lettuce||E. coli O157:H7||13||1:Il|
|Dec. 2002||Lettuce||E. coli O157:H7||3||1:MN|
|Oct. 2003-May 2004||Lettuce (mixed salad)||E. coli O157:H7||57||1:CA|
|Apr. 2004||Spinach||E. coli O157:H7||16||1:CA|
|Nov. 2004||Lettuce||E. coli O157:H7||6||1:NJ|
|Sept. 2005||Lettuce (romaine)||E. coli O157:H7||32||3:MN, WI, OR|
|Sept. 2006||Spinach (baby)||E. coli O157:H7 and other serotypes||205||Multistate and Canada|
|Nov./Dec. 2006||Lettuce||E. coli O157:H7||71||4:NY, NJ, PA, DE|
|Nov./Dec. 2006||Lettuce||E. coli O157:H7||81||3:IA, MN, WI|
|July 2007||Lettuce||E. coli O157:H7||26||1:AL|
|May 2008||Romaine||E. coli O157:H7||9||1:WA|
|Oct. 2008||Lettuce||E. coli O157:H7||59||Multistate and Canada|
|Nov. 2008||Lettuce||E. coli O157:H7||130||Canada|
|Sept. 2009||Lettuce: Romaine or Iceberg||E. coli O157:H7||29||Multistate|
|Sept. 2009||Lettuce||E. coli O157:H7||10||Multistate|
|April 2010||Romaine||E. coli O145||33||5:MI, NY, OH, PA, TN|
|Oct. 2011||Romaine||E. coli O157:H7||60||Multistate|
|April 2012||Romaine||E. coli O157:H7||28||
|June 2012||Romaine||E. coli O157:H7||52||Multistate|
|Sept. 2012||Romaine||E. coli O157:H7||9||1:PA|
|Oct. 2012||Spinach and Spring Mix Blend||E. coli O157:H7||33||Multistate|
|Apr. 2013||Leafy Greens||E. coli O157:H7||14||Multistate|
|Aug. 2013||Leafy Greens||E. coli O157:H7||15||1:PA|
|Oct. 2013||Ready-To-Eat Salads||E. coli O157:H7||33||Multistate|
|Apr. 2014||Romaine||E. coli O126||4||1:MN|
|Apr. 2015||Leafy Greens||E. coli O145||7||3:MD, SC, VA|
|June 2016||Mesclun Mix||E. coli O157:H7||11||3:IL, MI, WI|
|Nov. 2017||Leafy Greens||E. coli O157:H7||67||Multistate and Canada|
|Mar. 2018||Romaine||E. coli O157:H7||219||Multistate and Canada|
|Nov. 2018||Romaine||E. coli O157:H7||91||Multistate and Canada|
|Sept. 2019||Romaine||E. coli O157:H7||23||Multistate|
|Nov. 2019||Romaine||E. coli O157:H7||41||Multistate and Canada|
We need to take a hard look at the safety of romaine and what we can do to make is safe.