E. coli scare from Romaine lettuce hits 22 states so far

E. coli scare from Romaine lettuce hits 22 states so far

SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - A strain of bacteria has hit 22 states. It's linked back to romaine lettuce and a farm in Arizona.

The CDC announced Friday that the number of sick people has increased to 98.

This is actually the biggest multi-state E. coli outbreak in more than a decade since the last one happened in 2006 when E. coli was found in spinach. Then, 26 states were affected and 199 people got sick.

So far, 46 people have been hospitalized, including 10 with kidney failure from this breakout. A local farmer says diseases like this normally come about from being unsanitary.

"E. coli and things like that are normally caused by fault production and not having clean facilities for washing your produce," said Jeb Bush, Forsyth Farmer's Market.

While officials have been able to track the lettuce back to Yuma, AZ, they say they still don't know at what point of distribution the lettuce was contaminated.

"When I was farming, I was the one that would harvest the lettuce myself," Bush said. "I did everything and then I would wash it myself and store it so I knew every step of the way what was happening with that product."

He says when produce travels across the country, you just don't know who has touched it or how many facilities it has gone through, so things like this are likely to happen.

When you are purchasing romaine lettuce, it's important to look at where the lettuce is coming from. Stores in the area are taking this recall seriously.

"I just recently went to Wal-Mart two days ago and they took my romaine lettuce at the register and threw away everything that they had left of the romaine lettuce," said Katia Dunk, Savannah.

Restaurants aren't taking any risks either. Panera Bread put a notice on their app, reading, 'A CDC public consumer notice has advised restaurants to stop selling romaine lettuce from Yuma, Arizona. Panera only serves chopped romaine and it is NOT from Yuma.'

The CDC says people should not be eating or buying romaine lettuce unless they know for a fact that it is not from Yuma, AZ.

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