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Food Poison Journal Food Poisoning Outbreaks and Litigation: Surveillance and Analysis

E. coli O145 outbreak linked to romaine lettuce: a summary

"e. coli outbreak" ecoli "e. coli lettuce" "lettuce e. coli" "lettuce outbreak"The April 2010 E. coli O145 outbreak linked to Freshway romaine lettuce grown by Andrew Smith Company sickened 33 people (26 confirmed and 7 probable cases) from 5 states.  The number of ill persons identified in each state with this strain is: MI (11 confirmed and 2 probable), NY (5 confirmed and 2 probable), OH (8 confirmed and 3 probable), PA (1 confirmed), and TN (1 confirmed).  Many of the outbreak cases were college kids at the University of Michigan, Ohio State University, and Daemon College in New York.  At least 3 people developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) as a result of their E. coli infections. 

Will any good come of the Freshway lettuce E. coli O145 outbreak?  For the sake of people like Emily Grabowski, a New York college student who developed HUS as a result of her illness, at the very least the government should declare that E. coli O145 and other shiga-toxin producing strains of E. coli are "adulterants," and thus illegal, when present in our food supply.  

And there’s another issue worthy of note, and maybe some action, that arises from the Freshway E. coli outbreak.  The FDA has never named the farm where the contaminated lettuce was grown; for that matter, neither have any of the other entities known to be involved (Freshway and Andrew Smith Company). 

Congress made BP release streaming video of the oil "leak" for no better reason than we deserve to know.  The public demanded it.  So why doesn’t the same logic apply?  Don’t we have a right to know who is producing food products that are sickening and killing us?  Whatever the answer to that question specifically, we will soon find out in the discovery process in the pending lawsuit against Freshway.