Lettuce Recall in 23 States

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Freshway Foods of Sidney, Ohio, has issued a recall on romaine lettuce for 23 states (and the District of Columbia) due to a possible E. Coli outbreak.

According to the Food and Drug Administration, the recalled lettuce has caused 19 people to become sick and 12 to be hospitalized, three of whom have life-threatening symptons. The FDA is looking into 10 other possibly related cases.

The lettuce recall was issued after the New York State Public Health Laboratory in Albany discovered a contaminated bag of Freshway Foods shredded romaine lettuce on Wednesday. Local authorities had been investigating the outbreak for several weeks after students at the University of Michigan, Ohio State University and Daemen College got sick.

The recalled lettuce, under the Freshway and Imperial Sysco brands, has a "best if used by" date of May 12 or earlier. "Grab and go" salads sold at Kroger, Giant Eagle, Ingles Markets and Marsh grocery stores have also been recalled. Freshway Foods said the recalled lettuce was sold to wholesalers, food service outlets, in-store salad bars and delis.

It was sold in Alabama, Connecticut, the District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia and Wisconsin.

Freshway Foods did issue a statement on Thursday, saying that an extensive FDA investigation had not uncovered any contamination at their plant in Sidney. The FDA is looking into lettuce grown in Arizona as the source of the contamination.

"Freshway Foods is committed to our customers and their consumers who enjoy our products every day. We practice strict food safety guidelines to ensure that our products are as safe as possible, and we will continue to look for opportunities for improvement," said Phil Gilardi, Freshway President, in a press release. "We are voluntarily issuing this recall because we want to do everything possible to minimize risk to public health."

E. coli infection can cause mild diarrhea or more severe complications, including kidney damage. Life-threatening symptoms include hemolytic uremic syndrome, which can cause bleeding in the brain or kidneys.

This lettuce recall can be added to the growing list of products recalled recently.  Just this week, Americans saw a children’s medicine recall, a GM recall of Hummers and Corvettes, a recall of Nissan Infinitis and a laptop adapter recall.

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