Nation-Wide Alert for E. Coli-Lettuce Link
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has warned consumers not to consume romaine lettuce by Spokane Produce. This product has been associated with an outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 in a cheerleading camp in Washington state in mid July. The FDA urges consumers to throw out all romaine lettuce by Spokane Produce.
E. coli O157:H7 causes a diarrheal illness often with bloody stools. Although most healthy adults can recover completely within a week, some people can develop a form of kidney failure called Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome (HUS). HUS is most likely to occur in young children and the elderly. The condition can lead to serious kidney damage and even death.
The latest reported illness associated with this outbreak was on July 19, 2002. The romaine lettuce, which is sold under several different brand names, is known to be packaged in 5 pound bags labeled “Romaine Toss” and was distributed by Food Services of America which in the past had also distributed this product to restaurants and institutions in Idaho, Montana, and Oregon. The product has a shelf life of two weeks. To date, the outbreak has only involved exposure to romaine lettuce packaged in these 5 pound bags. The romaine lettuce may also be sold at retail establishments in various size packages.
Twenty-nine individuals at the cheerleading camp have been confirmed to have E. coli O157:H7. Other illnesses in Washington state are being investigated.
This situation was discovered when many individuals at the camp became ill. The FDA is working with the Spokane Regional Health District, Washington State Department of Agriculture, Washington State Department of Health and other agencies to determine the cause and scope of this problem.
Consumers should ask at the place of purchase in order to assure that they do not consume Spokane Produce brand romaine lettuce until this health emergency is resolved.