What the heck is going on with romaine lettuce? This year has been absolutely brutal for anyone who enjoys a good salad, with the CDC issuing alert after alert warning people not to eat lettuce grown from certain regions or purchased during certain time frames in specific areas.
Then, in May, we got a bit of good news: the lettuce was almost safe to eat again! Now, the CDC is going as far in the other direction as it possibly can, with a new bulletin urging everyone to throw out all romaine lettuce no matter where it was purchased from, what region it was grown in, or when it was purchased. It’s the lettuce apocalypse.
This newest update by the CDC adds 32 new cases to the growing list of individuals who have contracted E. coli from eating romaine lettuce. The previous outbreak page, which was last updated in late June, shows that a total of 210 confirmed E. coli infections were logged, with 96 hospitalizations and 5 deaths. This new outbreak has thus far resulted in 13 hospitalizations and zero deaths.
The CDC’s advice on what to do with your romaine lettuce is about as blunt as it gets:
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Wash and sanitize drawers or shelves in refrigerators where romaine was stored.
Restaurants are also advised to avoid serving romaine lettuce in any form, be it full leaves, chopped, or otherwise.
The CDC will be providing new updates as it learns more about this particular outbreak, but until then, just avoid the leafy vegetable and you should be okay.