FDA Investigates E. coli and Lettuce Recall Expands into Tennessee


May 13, 2010

FDA Investigates E. coli and Lettuce Recall Expands into Tennessee

Update: The lettuce recall was expanded Wednesday to include Tennessee. Another 7 new suspected cases of E. coli are also under investigation. The confirmed cases increased from 19 to 23 today.

The CDC said there are 10 confirmed cases in Michigan, eight confirmed cases in Ohio, four confirmed cases in New York and one confirmed case in Tennessee.

Students in three states have become ill from an E. coli outbreak that has been traced to romaine lettuce that came from a farm in Yuma Arizona. The recall which initially began with Freshway Foods is expanding as the FDA attempts to find out exactly where the contamination that caused this E. coli outbreak occurred.

The FDA announced on Monday that a food distributor in Oklahoma is also issuing a recall on romaine lettuce that came from the same farm as the previous lettuce recalled by Freshway Foods in Ohio. The California based Andrew Smith Co. announced also on Monday that it is recalling lettuce sold to Vaughn foods in Oklahoma, as well as in Massachusetts. At this time there has been a recall on this romaine lettuce in 23 states within the country.

At least 23 people have come down with E. coli illness, from this lettuce. The strain of E. coli is a rare one that is difficult to diagnose. The Federal Center for Disease Control claims that there are probably at least another 10 cases of E. coli poisoning from this tainted crop of romaine lettuce. The most common strain of E. coli found in the U.S. is E. coli O157, the strain that is found in the lettuce is E. coli 0145 which tends to be more difficult to identify initially as it basically begins with mild diarrhea, however if left untreated or undiagnosed can lead to severe complications and kidney distress. This is the first time that this strain has been found to be part of a food borne E. coli outbreak in the U.S.

“E. coli O145 is one of the deadly E. coli’s, like E. coli O157:H7 that makes up the bulk of most outbreaks.  However, we do not really know the prevalence of E. coli O145, because government and industry seldom test for it.” According to Bill Marler of Marler Clark. The nation’s foremost law firm with a practice dedicated to representing victims of food poisoning.

The use by date on the tainted lettuce is believed to be only May 9-12. At this time the use by date has passed and the FDA is investigating the supply chain to determine where the contamination occurred, tracing the strain all the way to the farm in Yuma. Most of the lettuce that has been recalled was sold to food service establishments, and does not affect bagged lettuce or premixed bagged salads sold in grocery stores.

All of the students who fell ill in April are all expected to make a full recovery, including the two teenagers who developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) which can cause bleeding in the brain and/or kidneys. When infected with E. coli, most people recover in around a week, but young children and the elderly can face serious illness and
even the possibility of death.

Publisher: Salient News


2 comments on “FDA Investigates E. coli and Lettuce Recall Expands into Tennessee”

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Average American Chick

Believe it or not, there is a way to immediately detect the presence of E. coli. We need to encourage the food industry to commercialize this…it is a simple and inexpensive way to protect consumers! I wrote about it on my blog:

http://www.ifiruledtheuniverse.wordpress.com

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