Ongoing outbreak and recall of Romaine Lettuce tainted with E. coli O145

Freshway Foods and the Food and Drug Administration announced yesterday. An a press release, Freshway Foods said the E. coli O145 – tainted Romaine Lettuce was sold to wholesalers, food service outlets, in-store salad bars and delis in Alabama, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia and Wisconsin. The affected lettuce has a "best if used by" date of May 12 or earlier. The recall also affects "grab and go" salads sold at Kroger, Giant Eagle, Ingles Markets and Marsh grocery stores.  The recall of Romaine Lettuce was prompted after illnesses were reported in Michigan, Ohio and New York – primarily impacting students at University of Michigan, The Ohio State university and Daemen University. The Food and Drug Administration reported the E. coli O145 illnesses included 12 people who have been hospitalized and with Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome (HUS).

What is Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome?  See,

Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome is a severe, life-threatening complication that occurs in about 10 percent of those infected with E. coli O157:H7 or other Shiga toxin-producing E. coliHUS was first described in 1955, but was not known to be secondary to E. coli infections until 1982. It is now recognized as the most common cause of acute kidney failure in infants and young children. Adolescents and adults are also susceptible, as are the elderly, who often succumb to the disease.

Ongoing Outbreak Investigation

Given the time of the year, the most likely area for growing Romaine Lettuce is Arizona – likely Yuma. The investigation is likely hampered by the failure of health departments throughout the United States from actually testing ill persons stools for E. coli O145.  For a bit(e) of history on lettuce and E. coli, visit

More Information on E. coli O145

In 2009, Marler Clark Petitioned the USDA to define E. coli O145 and other Shiga toxin-producing E. coli as adulterants.  The Petition has a very complete explanation of the dangers of E. coli O145.