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Romaine lettuce contaminated with E. coli traced to a single farm in Arizona
The Centers for Disease Control warn consumers about romaine lettuce grown in Yuma, Aris, saying it can cause illness due to E. coli bacteria. Dozens of people in almost 20 states have recently become ill from the bacteria. (April 26)
PHOENIX – Public health officials identified a farm in Yuma, Arizona, which they say is linked to eight cases of an E. coli outbreak that has sickened 98 people in 22 states. 19659009] CLOSE
A new outbreak of E. coli in 11 states has been linked by government researchers to chopped romaine lettuce and bags grown in Yuma, Arizona. Consumer Reports recommends, for the second time since January, that consumers avoid all romaine lettuce for
Harrison Farms was the source of whole heads of romaine lettuce sold to a prison in Nome, Alaska, where eight inmates became ill after eating the contaminated lettuce.
But officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration warned Friday that Harrison Farms so far can not be linked to the other 90 cases, which are still under investigation.
Harrison Farm officials hung up the phone several times on Friday and, within minutes of the announcement, stopped answering calls altogether.
However, a lawyer representing Harrison Farms said Friday that the eight cases only represent a fraction of the total cases.
"There is a real concern with the source and the biggest source, that is, they do not know all the sources," said Bradley Sullivan, Sacramento attorney specializing in agricultural cases. "You can not say Harrison is the source of the other 90 cases, it's unlikely that they are, if they could have made that connection, they would have said it."
Sullivan said that this is an unconventional outbreak. He said there could be multiple outbreaks simultaneously, or several farms affected by the same sources, such as water or animals.
There could have been an unexpected break in the distribution chain, which means that the lettuce could have been contaminated by a processor or a charger and sent to different buyers, Sullivan said.
"Everyone wants to know where he came from". he said. "I feel bad for Harrison Farms, because they're going to be blamed for everything."
Doctors with the CDC and the FDA said during a conference call on Friday that they are seeing different groups of the outbreak and "have reduced" is reduced to a couple of dozen farms. "
Reiterated the warnings to consumers of not eating Romaine lettuce from the Yuma region Public health officials said it covers whole heads, hearts and bags of chopped romaine lettuce and spring mixes.
In the last two days, 14 more people were added to the list of sick people in a national outbreak of E. coli that began in March Eight cases have been reported in Arizona.
That raises the total number of people sick with the virulent bacterial infection to 98 in 22 states, the Centers said. Disease Control and Prevention on Friday.
Sick people are between the ages of 1 and 88. Pennsylvania, California and Idaho reported the largest number of cases.
The lack of information on a specific source had paralyzed the lettuce producers in Arizona and California, who produce the great majority of the nation's lettuce.
Farms in the Yuma region supply North America with the vast majority of its green leafy vegetables from January to March of each year.
The prison food provider, Country Foods IGA Kenai, confirmed that the lettuce came from Yuma but could not provide the name of the producer.  Bill Marler, a nationally recognized food safety lawyer in Seattle, represents 32 people who became sick from eating the lettuce, including seven people with kidney failure. Among them is a 13-year-old girl in New York who is now in the home on dialysis and a 6-year-old boy in California who has had three blood transfusions.
Marler said one of her clients is an Arizona woman who was hospitalized for five days. He said he got sick three days after eating a salad in a restaurant. The health department confirmed that his case was related to the national outbreak.
It is possible that the diseases that occurred in the last two or three weeks have not yet been notified due to the time between an E. coli disease and the disease. reported to CDC.
The number of actual cases could fluctuate according to the time they were reported and the DNA tests. For example, Alaska health officials said the eight inmates were positively linked to the outbreak, but so far the CDC only counts five cases in Alaska.
Includes information from Arizona Republic reporter Bree Burkitt.
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