FDA says harvest season over for E. coli-linked romaine lettuce

A worker harvests romaine lettuce in Salinas Calif. The winter’s lettuce harvest in Yuma Ariz. is over and the leafy-greens industry has shifted to California over the past two months

FDA says harvest season over for E. coli-linked romaine lettuce

On Wednesday, May 15, 2018, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said it's unlikely that anyone now has edible romaine lettuce that's contaminated with the toxic strain of E. coli bacteria sickening people nationwide since March. More cases may get reported, but the shelf-life of romaine lettuce is not long and no more is being harvested from the affected area.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on May 2 one person from California had died related to the E. coli outbreak. The state health lab confirmed the link to the Yuma region, Rooney said.

This nasty outbreak has infected 172 people across 32 states, according to the CDC. That means the contaminated lettuce is now past its 21-day shelf life.

The person could have consumed the romaine lettuce at home, at a local restaurant or somewhere outside the area, Rooney said. So, if you were exposed to the contaminated lettuce, you likely would have gotten sick by now. One death has been reported.

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In scale, this outbreak is approaching that of the 2006 baby spinach E. coli outbreak that sickened more than 200 people and killed five.

The CDC said 20 people had developed a severe outcome of E. coli infection called hemolytic uremic syndrome.

The CDC said that consumers should speak with their doctor if they have symptoms of an E. coli infection, which include diarrhea, severe stomach cramps and vomiting.

The agency continues with its investigation to find the source of the contamination.

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