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Romaine Lettuce Is Safe To Eat Again After Weeks-Long E. Coli Outbreak

Romaine lettuce.
Romaine lettuce. Photo Credit: USDA Food Safety

It's no longer necessary to toss out romaine salad.

Instead, go ahead and toss yourself a bowl and Hail Caesar -- the salad, that is.

The CDC announced that the last of the E. coli–tainted lettuce that sickened 172 people in 32 states, including New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, is no longer on grocery-store shelves. One person died during the outbreak.

Earlier this month, the USDA linked the outbreak to Harrison Farms in Yuma, Arizona as the potential source of the outbreak. New illnesses have been reported in three states: Iowa, Nebraska, and Oregon.

According to the USDA, “ the last shipments of romaine lettuce from the Yuma growing region were harvested on April 16, 2018 with a 21-day shelf life. The harvest season is over.

“It takes two to three weeks between when a person becomes ill with E. coli and when the illness is reported to CDC," the USDA said. "The most recent illnesses reported to CDC started when romaine lettuce from the Yuma growing region was likely still available in stores, restaurants, and in peoples’ homes.”

Symptoms of E. coli include stomach cramps, diarrhea and vomiting. Others may endure a minor fever.

“This is a shockingly large percentage of hospitalized and HUS cases,” Bill Marler, a managing partner at the Food Safety Law Firm Marler Clark said in a statement. “It underscores the need for the produce industry to do a better job of traceability so these outbreaks are identified and stopped as soon as possible.”

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