Can You Wash E. Coli Off Your Romaine Lettuce?

Ann Santiago
November 22, 2018

Both the U.S. and Canadian alerts, coming as millions of Americans planned their Thanksgiving Day menus, urged consumers, restaurants and retailers to throw out all romaine left in stock and sanitise their shelves.

The CDC said at least 32 people in 11 states, including two in NY, had fallen ill from E.coli bacteria between Oct 8 and 31. Sturgeon Bay Econofoods Store Manager Jon Calhoun says they are taking the food safety alert seriously and offering customers a full refund on romaine lettuce purchases.

So far there are no deaths or reports of outbreaks in Florida. The romaine lettuce linked to the E. coli outbreak earlier this year was from Yuma, Arizona.

As a precautionary measure, the AVA added that consumers who have bought romaine lettuce and are uncertain where the vegetable was sourced from should throw the lettuce away. After 15 minutes, the pad displays one red line to show it worked properly - and a second if the sample contains E. coli O157.

Six people have been hospitalized.

Warriner said he would like to see more focus put on decontamination processes at commercial food processing facilities and other efforts to stop E. coli contamination at its source rather than catch it after it has affected foods. Another 18 people were identified as infected with the same strain in Canada. The agency is warning people to throw out all romaine, because of fears it may carry a potentially deadly strain of E. coli.


The CDC say symptoms of an E. coli infection usually include stomach cramps, vomiting and diarrhea.

CDC advised consumers, restaurants, and retailers in the USA and Canada not to eat, serve, or sell any romaine lettuce as it investigates an outbreak of E. coli infections linked to romaine. The illnesses began from October 8, to October 31.

But unlike with romaine lettuce, regulators are not warning people to avoid turkey.

Loblaws, Canada's largest food retailer and the parent company of a number of grocery chains in B.C. including T&T Supermarket, Real Canadian Superstore and No Frills, says "out of an abundance of caution" it is recalling and removing romaine lettuce products from stores shelves across Canada.

Most people with a STEC infection start feeling sick 3 to 4 days after eating or drinking something that contains the bacteria.

Other reports by

Discuss This Article

FOLLOW OUR NEWSPAPER