California Department of Public Health (CDPH) Director Dr. Mark Horton today warned consumers not to eat certain romaine lettuce products packaged by Fresh Express because they may be contaminated with E. coli O157:H7, which can cause serious illness. The E. coli O157:H7 was isolated from routine surveillance samples. So far, no illnesses have been linked to any of the 23 affected products.
In California, 40,684 cases of the recalled products were distributed. CDPH estimates that this translates to approximately 480,000 packages in California. The salad products were distributed to retailers in 19 states, including California, Arizona, Nevada, Oregon and Washington.
The romaine salad products are sold under the Fresh Express label and packaged in sizes ranging from 7 ounces to 32 ounces. The affected product labels are marked:
“Use by Dates of July 8 - July 12,” and have an “S” in the product code.
A complete list of the recalled products may be obtained here. Additional photographs of the affected packages can be found here.
CDPH advises consumers who purchased affected romaine salad products to throw them away immediately, then thoroughly wash their hands with soap and water.
E. coli O157:H7 infection often causes abdominal cramps and diarrhea. People with severe infections may suffer kidney damage and require hospitalization. Complications can also be fatal.
Those most at risk for serious complications include young children, the elderly and people with compromised immune systems. Consumers with any of these symptoms should contact their health care provider.