I went to lunch with my family the other day and my aunt was concerned about whether it was safe to eat the salad. Frankly, I really hadn't thought much about the romaine lettuce recall, because I thought it was primarily Arizona and California that were affected.
Actually, there are now 19 states where people have gotten sick (E. coli) from eating romaine lettuce grown in the Yuma, Arizona region. The closest to us are Louisiana and Georgia, and they haven't had very many cases.
But the Centers for Disease Control has updated the recall to tell us NOT to eat any romaine lettuce, unless we can CONFIRM that it DOES NOT come from the Yuma, Arizona region.
When it doubt, don't eat it. The romaine, that is. Other lettuce is fine. (Sorry... there goes your excuse for skipping salad in favor of fries or cheese grits.)
Here's what the CDC is saying to us right now--
- Do not eat or buy romaine lettuce unless you can confirm it is not from the Yuma, Arizona, growing region.
- Product labels often do not identify growing regions; so, do not eat or buy it if you are uncertain about where it was grown.
- This advice includes whole heads and hearts of romaine, chopped romaine, and salads and salad mixes containing romaine lettuce. If you do not know if the lettuce in a salad mix is romaine, do not eat it.
- Take action if you have symptoms of an E. coli infection:
- Talk to your healthcare provider.
- Write down what you ate in the week before you started to get sick.
- Report your illness to the health department.
- Assist public health investigators by answering questions about your illness.
- Follow these general ways to prevent E. coli infection:
- Wash your hands. Wash hands after using the restroom or changing diapers, before and after preparing or eating food, and after contact with animals.
- Don’t prepare food or drink for others when you are sick.
- Cook meats thoroughly to kill harmful germs. Cook steaks and roasts to at least 145˚F and let rest for 3 minutes after you remove meat from the grill or stove. Cook ground beef and pork to at least 160˚F. Use a food thermometer to check the temperature of the meat.
- Don’t cross-contaminate food preparation areas. Thoroughly wash hands, counters, cutting boards, and utensils after they touch raw meat.
- Wash fruits and vegetables before eating, unless the package says the contents have been washed.
- Avoid raw milk, other unpasteurized dairy products, and unpasteurized juices.