1 death reported in romaine lettuce E. coli outbreak

Health officials said the contamination had been found to romaine lettuce grown in the area around Yuma, Ariz. which is considered as a part of the growing region that produces 90% of the nation's winter lettuce, and which has mostly stopped growing the winter crop.

The tainted romaine lettuce has tallied 121 people across 25 states, hospitalizing 52, causing kidney failure in 14, and now killing one.

The CDC also added Kentucky, Massachusetts and Utah to the states with reported cases. No other state has reported more than eight cases.

Bill Marler, a Seattle-based food safety lawyer who has been involved in food-borne illness lawsuits for decades, said it's striking that federal investigators still have not explained how, when and where the bacteria contaminated the romaine and spread to so many people and places.

Local farmers and shoppers are voicing their concerns about the E. coli outbreak involving romaine lettuce.

However, the FDA is still working on identifying additional sources responsible for the outbreak. "I mean, candidly, that's ridiculous", Marler said. But investigators have not specified when and where that lettuce became contaminated with the unsafe bacteria, and the farm has not been linked to other cases.

The CDC urges people not to eat romaine lettuce unless it can be confirmed it didn't come from the Yuma region. Romaine lettuce now in our stores, including romaine used in deli items, is not from the Yuma region but, rather comes from other growing regions. The same goes for restaurants, and the caution applies to all romaine-chopped, whole, baby, organic, or snippets in mixes. The first illnesses occurred in March, and the most recent began on April 21, the CDC said. However, E. coli infections often do not reach the CDC for two to three weeks, suggesting the case count may be higher.

  • Santos West