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Romaine Lettuce Recall Expands as E. Coli Illness Spreads


Washington, DC: Further to the initial recall May 7th, by Freshway Foods, of products containing romaine lettuce with a use by date of May 12 or earlier, the recall was expandedon May 11, as possibly 30 people have been made ill with E. coli as a result of consuming the tainted lettuce.

The most recent recall comes from California-based Andrew Smith Co, regarding lettuce it sold to Vaughn Foods, a distributor in Moore, OK. Andrew Smith Co, buys bulk romaine lettuce from farms and sells it to distributors. Those distributors, such as Freshway Foods and Vaughn Foods, then sell it to food service outlets or retail customers. Andrew Smith Co, sold lettuce products that came from the same farm in Yuma AZ, that the Freshway lettuce came from, lettuce which has so far sickened at least 19 students in Ohio, Michigan and New York, several of whom became seriously ill. Officials at the Centers for Disease Control are looking for an additional 10 cases of E. coli poisoning resulting from the contaminated lettuce.

The Freshway lettuce products were sold under the Freshway brand and Imperial Sysco brand. That recall includes romaine lettuce products sold by Freshway Foods for food service outlets, wholesale, and in-store retail salad bars and delis; no other products are involved. Freshway Foods does not produce bulk, prepackaged romaine or bagged salad mixes containing romaine for sale in supermarkets, and therefore these products are not included in this recall.

The recalled romaine lettuce products were sold to wholesalers and food service outlets in the following states east of the Mississippi river: Alabama, Connecticut, 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. The recalled romaine products were also sold for distribution to in-store salad bars and delis for Kroger, Giant Eagle, Ingles Markets, and Marsh stores in the states listed.

For a complete list of the Freshway products affected by the recall see the link below.

E. coli O145 causes a diarrheal illness often with bloody stools. Although most healthy adults can recover completely within a week, some people can develop a form of kidney failure called Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome (HUS). HUS is most likely to occur in young children and the elderly. The condition can lead to serious kidney damage and even death.

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