WASHINGTON -- The Centers for Disease Control is urging consumers to avoid all types of romaine lettuce unless they can confirm that it did not come from the Yuma, Arizona, area amid a 19-state E. coli outbreak.
While the CDC has not issued a formal recall, it had originally cautioned consumers against consuming chopped romaine lettuce from the Yuma area. The agency recently updated its advisory to encompass whole heads and hearts of romaine in addition to chopped romaine and salad mixes containing romaine.
If you have romaine lettuce at home and are not sure about where it was grown, the CDC recommends throwing it away immediately. You should also sanitize any shelves or drawers where that romaine lettuce was recently stored.
Customers should ask about the origin of any lettuce they encounter in restaurants to ensure it is not included in the advisory.
"If you cannot confirm the source of the romaine lettuce, do not buy it or eat it," the CDC cautioned.
The agency said it broadened the scope of its advisory after learning that people at an Alaska correctional facility fell ill after consuming a dish made from whole heads of lettuce traced back to the Yuma area.
Alaska and 18 other states that have reported a collective 84 cases of E. coli, the CDC announced. Idaho and Pennsylvania have been especially hard hit, with 10 and 18 respective cases reported.
In total, 42 people have been hospitalized in connection with the outbreak, nine of whom have developed a form of kidney failure. No deaths have been reported.
Throw away romaine lettuce if you don't know where it came from, CDC urges amid E. coli outbreak