Food Safety Experts Warn Against Eating Romaine Amid a Deadly E. Coli Outbreak

Attention caesar salad lovers of America: it may be wise to avoid eating your favorite plate of greens for a bit. At least that's the word from some food-safety experts, who are warning that a dangerous E. coli outbreak spreading throughout North America may be linked to romaine lettuce. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and several states are currently investigating a widespread E. coli outbreak that's so far sickened nearly 60 and killed two people in the United States and Canada. And while no US agency has yet issued an official warning against eating romaine -- or directly linked this particular bacteria strain to the leafy crop -- Canadian health authorities have. That was enough for the food safety team at Consumer Reports to recommend people stop eating the particular variety of lettuce until the cause of the outbreak is determined, especially since it's almost always consumed raw. They also called on the FDA to do the same.

According to the CDC, the outbreak in the US began between November 15 and December 8, 2017 and there have been documented cases so far in the following states: New York, California, Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Nebraska, New Hampshire, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Vermont, and Washington. In its investigation, both the CDC and FDA say that the type of E. coli that's making people sick is similar to the one involved in the Canadian outbreak, but have stopped short of putting out a warning, citing a lack of evidence. Still, if you have a compromised immune system, or just don't want to risk even the slightest chance of developing nasty E. coli symptoms, it couldn't hurt to steer clear. 

Now may be the the perfect time to branch out of your salad comfort zone. After all, caesar salads aren't all that healthy anyway. 


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Joe McGauley is a senior writer for Thrillist. Follow him @jwmcgauley.