The Center for Disease Control has issued a dire warning about Romaine lettuce, informing consumers that it is currently not safe in the U.S.
The C.D.C.'s latest alert about Romaine lettuce is an extreme one, urging people to throw out any that may be currently in their refrigerator. According to a report by The Washington Post, the C.D.C. has found that a particularly dangerous type of E. coli virus has taken hold of lettuce around the country.
The findings were reported on Tuesday, when the C.D.C. reportedly tied a recent outbreak of illnesses to the vegetable. Now, they are asking shoppers to get rid of their Romaine lettuce and for restaurants to stop serving it for the time being. The C.D.C. says that it does not matter where the lettuce was grown, how it was packaged or even if it is mixed into a medley product.
The Romaine embargo could hit American families hard, as they prepare for some of the year's biggest family gatherings this week. Thanksgiving dinner could well include hearty salads for some people, but the C.D.C. said that it is worth it to skip it this year.
Already, 32 people have reportedly become sick across 11 different states due to contaminated lettuce. So far, 13 of those people have been hospitalized, and one even suffered from a type of kidney failure. Meanwhile, Canda's Public Health Agency has reported 18 cases of the same E. coli virus.
“Consumers who have any type of romaine lettuce in their home should not eat it and should throw it away, even if some of it was eaten and no one has gotten sick,” read a Food Safety Alert from the C.D.C. on Tuesday afternoon. “This advice includes all types or uses of romaine lettuce, such as whole heads of romaine, hearts of romaine, and bags and boxes of precut lettuce and salad mixes that contain romaine, including baby romaine, spring mix, and Caesar salad."
The Center added that it was better to be safe than sorry, and asked consumers to avoid any leafy greens that they could not identify on sight as well.
“If you do not know if the lettuce is romaine or whether a salad mix contains romaine, do not eat it and throw it away," the alert read.
Thankfully, there have been no deaths so far, but the C.D.C. is clearly concerned that this contamination has spread far and wide. They are even advising people to wipe down the insides of their refrigerators, crisper drawers and other areas where the vegetables may have come into contact.