Is it safe to eat romaine lettuce? Ask the experts

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

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. 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.

"It takes two to three weeks between when a person becomes ill with E. coli and when the illness is reported to CDC".

This is the worst E. coli outbreak to have taken place since the year 2006 when over 270 people fell sick and three people died as they consumed the E. coli contaminated spinach.

So far there has only been one death recorded, in California. Numerous other illnesses are linked to chopped romaine lettuce.

Romaine lettuce is displayed on a shelf at a supermarket in San Rafael on April 23, 2018.

The CDC said three more states - Iowa, Nebraska and OR - have been hit by the outbreak, bringing the total number of affected states to 32. Of the 157 cases reported with good information, 75 (48 percent) have resulted in hospitalization, and 20 people have developed a risky form of kidney failure. A previous warning was limited to chopped forms of romaine, including salads and salad mixes.

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The last shipments of romaine lettuce from the Yuma, Arizona region were harvested April 16.

"I'm the Mueller of the E. coli outbreak", Marler says.

Since product labels often come without the identification of the growing region, we suggest you pass on romaine lettuce if you are uncertain about where it was grown.

21 News has reached out to the Ohio Department of Health and is waiting learn where the three new cases were reported.

The symptoms of a potentially deadly E. coli O157:H7 infection include severe and painful abdominal and stomach cramps, and diarrhea that is watery or bloody.

The CDC stressed that E. coli illness can be very serious, even deadly.

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