State health authorities, along with the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) and the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) have confirmed that an E. coli 0145 strain in an unopened bag of shredded romaine lettuce distributed by Freshway Foods matches the outbreak E. coli 0145 strain. The bag was tested at the New York State Public Health Laboratory, Wadsworth Center, in Albany.
The FDA informs that federal and state public health officials continue to investigate the foodborne illness outbreak associated to specific romaine lettuce products distributed to wholesalers and food service outlets.
So far there have been 19 confirmed cases of E. coli 0145 human infection in New York, Ohio and Michigan - there are also several unconfirmed cases. Twelve have been hospitalized, of which three have a potentially life-threatening complication of HUS (hemolytic uremic syndrome), in wihc the body's blood-clotting mechanism does not work properly, resulting in blocked circulation or bleeding in the kidneys or brain.
Last week, Freshway Foods of Sidney, Ohio, voluntarily recalled certain romaine lettuce products because of the possible connection to the E.coli O145 foodborne illness outbreak. The recalled shredded romaine lettuce had "best if used by" dates of May 12 or earlier.
State and federal authorities are trying to determine where in the supply chain the contamination occurred; a farm in Yuma, Arizona, which harvests lettuce, is being investigated. The current outbreak does not appear to be linked to any other areas where lettuce is harvested.
Vaughan Foods of Moore, Oklahoma, a supplier of processed and packaged lettuce for use at the foodservice level, received romaine lettuce harvested from the same farm in Yuma, Arizona; the company is recalling romaine lettuce with "use‐by" dates of May 9 and May 10. The recalled romaine lettuce distributed by Vaughan Foods was sold to restaurants and food service facilities and was not available for purchase at retail by consumers.
What is E. coli?E. coli is short for Escherichia coli, it is one of the bacteria that line the gut of humans and animals. It also exists in raw and undercooked beef, infected water and milk. Most E. coli strains are harmless. However, E.coli O145 and some other strains can be harmful.
Symptoms of E. coli Poisoning
- Diarrhoea - initially watery, may eventually become bloody
- Abdominal pain - severe stomach cramps and stomach tenderness
- Fever (sometimes)
Some infected people have no symptoms, and may unwittingly pass it on to others.
What Is Gastroenteritis? What Is Food Poisoning?
Written by Christian Nordqvist