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Iceberg Lettuce: Another E.coli Risk

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Springfield, ILReports from 26 people sickened after eating iceberg lettuce supplied by Detroit-based Aunt Mid's Produce Company prompted Michigan health officials to issue a public health alert on September 26th. The E.coli outbreak started at Michigan State University, with reports of bloody diarrhea, cramps and vomiting and 8 Michigan State University students were hospitalized with E. coli O157:H7.

E-Coli LettuceJames McCurtis, a Michigan Department of Community Health spokesman, said that restaurants should discontinue serving iceberg lettuce. So far bagged iceberg lettuce sold at grocery stores is still safe but McCurtis said other produce distributors are being questioned.

So far, there have been four reported cases in Macomb County, three in Wayne County and one in Oakland County. But there is no telling how many cases have not been reported: E.coli Health officials in Illinois reported that at least five Illinois residents were hospitalized after contracting the bacteria between late August and mid-September.

Meanwhile, The Detroit News reported that Aunt Mid's Produce Co. has halted shipments of the purported contaminated lettuce associated with the outbreak. The newspaper further reported that the supplier shipped bags of shredded or chopped iceberg lettuce to restaurants and institutions and believes contaminated lettuce was not sent to store shelves.

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