The number of confirmed and probable E. coli O145 infections remained steady at 29 today, but additional recalls were announced as evidence of additional contaminated product surfaced.  CIDRAP reported on developing news on a number of fronts:

  • Location of the outbreak strain of E. coli O145 in Freshway bagged romaine lettuce:  "the New York State Public Health Laboratory found the outbreak strain in an unopened bag of shredded romaine distributed by Freshway."
  • Freshway recall, update on products and states:  Freshway has now recalled "72 different types of bagged lettuce" in 23 states.
  • Yuma, AZ farm implicated, second firm recalls lettuce from same farm:   "Vaughan Foods of Moore, Okla., said it was recalling bagged romaine with a sell-by date of either May 9 or May 10."  CIDRAP reports that FDA has confirmed this link.
  • Second, independent strain of pathogenic E. coli isolated in Freshway bag:  "the Ohio Department of Agriculture has also tested bagged lettuce implicated in the outbreak and found a second, unrelated strain of E. coli in a bag of shredded romaine from Freshway."
  • Second strain leads to additional recall of lettuce:  Andrew Smith Co. of California launched a recall of "1,000 cartons or about 23,000 pounds of lettuce sold to Vaughan Foods and to an unidentified third firm in Massachusetts.

Perhaps most remarkable, given the broad impact and the number of illnesses, is the likelihood that investigators are only seeing the tip of the iceberg.  "The CDC said last week that many clinical laboratories do not test for O145 because the assay is more difficult to perform, and that therefore cases caused by the strain may be underreported."