Federal health officials are advising consumers to throw away romaine lettuce and salad mixes amid a nationwide outbreak of E. coli infections linked to California’s Salinas Valley.
Forty people in 16 states have been sickened, 28 of them seriously enough to require hospitalization, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Friday.
If consumers can’t verify the origin of romaine or mixes containing the variety, they should discard it, the CDC urged. These include whole heads, hearts, pre-cut packaged lettuce and salad mixes, including baby romaine, spring mix, and Caesar salad, the agency said.
The move comes after Maryland health authorities linked recent illnesses to a Caesar salad mix distributed by a New Jersey-based Missa Bay LLC, which voluntarily recalled approximately 75,233 pounds of salad products sold in numerous states, including Illinois, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service.
“The products identified are already significantly past their use-by dates, so this voluntary recall most likely does not affect any product currently on store shelves,” the company said in a written statement.
Illnesses from the Shiga toxin-producing E. coli bacteria generally strike 3 to 4 days after contact. Symptoms include diarrhea, severe stomach cramps, and vomiting, according to CDC.
The recalled salad products have “Use By” dates ranging from Oct. 29, 2019, to Nov. 1, 2019, according to CDC, and include the number “EST. 18502B” inside the USDA inspection mark.
A full list of recalled products is available on the USDA website.