Earlier this week the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a warning asking the public to avoid eating chopped romaine lettuce from the Yuma, Arizona, growing region. Figuring out where bagged, store-bought chopped lettuce was originally grown can be difficult, so the CDC suggested that if you don’t know for certain, avoid chopped romaine lettuce altogether. Now, just 48 hours later, the group is expanding its warning to include whole heads of romaine lettuce as well as hearts.
The CDC’s new warning also includes newly confirmed cases of E. Coli infections, and it’s much more rigid about its language regarding eating romaine lettuce no matter where you are in the United States. The contaminated veggies are clearly coming from one specific region, and until the CDC can figure out what’s causing it, avoiding lettuce from that growing area is the best course of action.
From the CDC’s latest update:
- Based on new information, CDC is expanding its warning to consumers to cover all types of romaine lettuce from the Yuma, Arizona growing region. This warning now includes whole heads and hearts of romaine lettuce, in addition to chopped romaine and salads and salad mixes containing romaine.
- Do not buy or eat romaine lettuce at a grocery store or restaurant unless you can confirm it is not from the Yuma, Arizona, growing region.
- Unless the source of the product is known, consumers anywhere in the United States who have any store-bought romaine lettuce at home should not eat it and should throw it away, even if some of it was eaten and no one has gotten sick. Product labels often do not identify growing regions; so, throw out any romaine lettuce if you’re uncertain about where it was grown. This includes whole heads and hearts of romaine, chopped romaine, and salads and salad mixes containing romaine lettuce. If you do not know if the lettuce is romaine, do not eat it and throw it away.
- Restaurants and retailers should not serve or sell any romaine lettuce from the Yuma, Arizona growing region.
- The expanded warning is based on information from newly reported illnesses in Alaska. Ill people in Alaska reported eating lettuce from whole heads of romaine lettuce from the Yuma, Arizona growing region.
Obviously, if you grow your own romaine lettuce or know exactly where it was grown (and it’s not anywhere near Yuma, Arizona) feel free to continue to indulge in the leafy vegetable to your heart’s content. If you’re not one of those people, and you don’t feel like interrogating your local grocer to find out exactly where the salad mixes on the shelves were grown, it’s probably best to just avoid romaine entirely, at least until this whole mess gets cleared up.