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Advice to Consumers, Restaurants, Retailers, and Clinicians

Photo of chopped romaine lettuce

According to the FDA, the last shipments of romaine lettuce from the Yuma growing region were harvested on April 16, 2018 and the harvest season is over. It is unlikely that any romaine lettuce from the Yuma growing region is still available in people’s homes, stores, or restaurants due to its 21-day shelf life.

Advice to Consumers

  • Take action if you have symptoms of an E. coli infection:
    • Talk to your healthcare provider.
    • Write down what you ate in the week before you started to get sick.
    • Report your illness to your health department.
    • Assist public health investigators by answering questions about your illness.
  • Follow these steps to help keep you healthy and your fruits and vegetables safer to eat:
    • Wash your hands before and after preparing fruits and vegetables.
    • Wash or scrub all fruits and vegetables under running water before eating, cutting, or cooking.
      • Fruits and vegetables labeled “prewashed” do not need to be washed again at home.
    • Use a separate cutting board for fruits and vegetables that is never used for cutting or preparing raw meats, poultry, or seafood.
    • Store fruits and vegetables away from, and not next to or below, raw meat, poultry, or seafood. These items can drip juices that may have germs.
  • Follow these general ways to prevent E. coli infection:
    • Wash your hands. E. coli infections can spread from one person to another. Wash hands after using the restroom or changing diapers, before and after preparing or eating food, and after contact with animals.
    • Don’t prepare food or drink for others when you are sick.
    • Cook meats thoroughly to kill harmful germs. Cook steaks and roasts to at least 145˚F and let rest for 3 minutes after you remove meat from the grill or stove. Cook ground beef and pork to at least 160˚F. Use a food thermometer to check the temperature of the meat.
    • Don’t cross-contaminate food preparation areas. Thoroughly wash hands, counters, cutting boards, and utensils after they touch raw meat.
    • Wash fruits and vegetables before eating, unless the package says the contents have been washed.
    • Avoid raw milk, other unpasteurized dairy products, and unpasteurized juices.

Advice to Restaurants and Retailers

  • It is unlikely that any romaine lettuce from the Yuma growing region is still available in stores or restaurants due to its 21-day shelf life. Restaurants and retailers can ask their suppliers about the source of their romaine lettuce to confirm it is not from the Yuma growing region.

Advice to Clinicians

  • Antibiotics are not recommended for patients with suspected E. coli O157 infections until diagnostic testing can be performed and E. coli O157 infection is ruled out. Some studies have shown that administering antibiotics to patients with E. coli O157 infections might increase their risk of developing hemolytic uremic syndrome (a type of kidney failure), and the benefit of antibiotic treatment has not been clearly demonstrated.
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