Ohio foodpoisoning and outbreak problems are mounting by the day. The state’s top outbreak journalist, Misti Crane of the Columbus Dispatch, added another layer to the romaine lettuce E. coli O145 outbreak story. According to Misti’s article this morning, tests conducted by the State of Ohio on lettuce from Andrew Smith Company have returned positive for an entirely different strain of E. coli than E. coli O145.
The Ohio laboratory test that revealed E. coli in the Andrew Smith lettuce detected a type of E. coli that is not linked to the outbreak, Philpott said [Spokesperson for Andrew Smith Company].
Ohio Department of Agriculture spokeswoman Kaleigh Frazier said tests here showed that the E. coli was not 0145. The test was on an unopened bag of Freshway romaine shredded lettuce with a sell-by date of May 10, she said.
Last Friday, May 7, Andrew Smith Company issued a private recall of all product potentially affected by these positive tests for non-O145 E. coli.
The recall was issued "out of an abundance of caution" after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration notified the company of the positive test in Ohio, she said.
Each carton had about 45 pounds of lettuce in it, about 23 pounds of which actually ends up in the final product shipped by the food production companies, Philpott said.
That adds up to about 23,000 pounds of romaine that was recalled by Andrew Smith and could have been already consumed or sold to restaurants and others in food service.
Notably, this is a different recall than last week’s recall by Freshway Foods due to E. coli O145-contaminated romaine lettuce. Thus, based on positive tests for another strain of E. coli, is there another outbreak underway–or, more likely, will this new information help epidemiologists piece together E. coli illnesses also linked to the consumption of contaminated lettuce, but not to last week’s Freshway recall?