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Local farmers and consumers react to E. coli outbreak

Local farmers and consumers react to E. coli outbreak

So far, however, the FDA has announced only a single entity form the Yuma region, that being Harrison Farms, who sold Romaine lettuce contaminated with E.coli to a correctional facility in Alaska.

The outbreak, which started March 13, has Americans avoiding romaine from the Yuma, Ariz., region, the suspected culprit of the outbreak. 52 people have been hospitalised and 14 of them with kidney failure among the sickened people.

However, they have not determined when the contamination took place nor have they been able to identify the source of the other outbreaks in the country.Most of the cases reported have come from California, Pennsylvania and Idaho.

The major symptoms include diarrhea (often bloody), vomiting, and severe stomach cramps.

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Bill Marler, a Seattle-based food safety lawyer who has been involved in food-borne illness lawsuits for decades, said the investigators had not explained how, when and where the bacteria contaminated the romaine which is spread to so many people and places. If romaine is part of any prepared salad mixes you have, toss those as well. "I think the local stores that are getting their produce out of OR have a little bit more control of their source rather than a big national distribution store who may not be sure where it's coming from". But investigators have not specified when and where that lettuce became contaminated with the unsafe bacteria, and the farm has not been linked to other cases.

But the CDC continues to emphasize that consumers should confirm that any lettuce they buy or eat did not originate in the Yuma region.

The last illness reported began on April 25. "The restaurants reported using bagged, chopped romaine lettuce to make salads".

"This is a higher hospitalization rate than usual for E. coli O157:H7 infections, which is usually around 30%".

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