Freshway Foods of Sidney, Ohio is recalling some of its romaine lettuce products because of the possible connection to an outbreak of foodborne disease.
The outbreak, which is still under investigation, involves cases in Michigan, Ohio, and New York of illnesses due to infection with E. coli O145, a harmful bacteria, according to the Food and Drug Administration.
On May 5, 2010, the New York state Public Health Laboratory, Wadsworth Center, in Albany reported finding E. coli O145 in an unopened bag of Freshway Foods shredded romaine lettuce. The resulting recall affects 23 states: 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 shredded romaine lettuce has a "best if used by" date of May 12 or earlier. The Freshway Foods recall announcement advises restaurants, distributors, and retailers to throw out or refrain from using shredded romaine lettuce from Freshway Foods with these "use by" dates.
Additionally, Freshway Foods is advising consumers not to eat "grab and go" salads sold in-store salad bars and delis at Kroger, Giant Eagle, Ingles Markets, and Marsh stores.
Shredded romaine lettuce from Freshway Foods with "use by" dates after May 12 are not involved in this voluntary recall, the FDA said. Romaine lettuce and other types of lettuce and leafy greens from other producers are also not affected by this recall.
Multiple lines of evidence have implicated shredded romaine lettuce from one processing facility as a source of infections in a multi-state outbreak to which this recall may be related.
To date, 19 confirmed cases of E. coli O145 illnesses have been reported from Michigan, Ohio, and New York. These illnesses include 12 individuals who have been hospitalized, and three with a potentially life threatening complication called hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). HUS is a serious condition in which the body's blood-clotting mechanisms are altered, causing blocked circulation or bleeding in the brain or kidneys.
The evidence includes preliminary results of product traceback investigations that indicate the shredded romaine lettuce consumed by ill persons in three states originated from one processing facility and recovery of E. coli O145 from an unopened package of shredded romaine lettuce from the same processing facility that was obtained from a food service entity associated with the outbreak.
The FDA, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and state public health officials in Michigan, New York, and Ohio continue to investigate that outbreak and will provide updates as more information is available, the FDA said. It said more information on the recall can be found online.
Symptoms of infection with harmful E. coli may range from none to mild diarrhea to severe complications. The acute symptoms include severe abdominal cramps and diarrhea, which may be bloody. Patients may progress to serious complications, such as kidney damage. FDA and CDC encourage anyone with the symptoms listed to contact his or her health care provider immediately.
Lettuce Recalled Over Suspected E. coli Contamination...