"Consumers anywhere in the United States who have store-bought chopped romaine lettuce at home, including salads and salad mixes, should not eat it and should throw it away, even if some of it was eaten and no one has gotten sick. If you do not know if the lettuce is romaine, do not eat it and throw it away." That's the bottom line from the CDC as the number of people hospitalized in an E. coli outbreak linked to chopped romaine grows. Thousands of pounds of the lettuce have been recalled and at least 53 people have gotten sick since March 13, CNN reports; 31 of them were hospitalized and five of them developed a type of kidney failure that can be life-threatening. No deaths have been reported.
Illnesses have been reported in 16 states. Health officials have yet to identify a single brand, supplier, distributor, or grower as the tainted lettuce's source, but Pennsylvania-based Fresh Foods Manufacturing Co. voluntarily recalled 8,757 pounds of ready-to-eat salads as a precaution and officials last week warned residents and restaurants about chopped romaine grown in the Yuma, Arizona, area. The states with the highest number of illnesses are Pennsylvania, Idaho, New Jersey, and Montana. Meanwhile, the FDA released a report with new details from the recent recall of more than 200 million eggs due to salmonella; CNN reports the farm linked to the contaminated eggs was found to have a rodent infestation and other unsanitary conditions. (Read more recall stories.)