The U.S. Centers for Disease Control has updated its investigation notice regarding an outbreak of E. coli associated with an unknown food source.
According to the CDC, the outbreak has sickened 97 people in 6 states. CDC believes the outbreak is linked to a food item consumed at Wendy’s restaurants. Although no food source has been identified, some of the sick people have reported eating sandwiches at Wendy’s that contain romaine lettuce used as a condiment.
Wendy’s has reacted quickly to prevent future illnesses by removing the romaine lettuce used on sandwiches from its menu. They have indicated that other romaine lettuce used for salad menu items is of a different type.
Fortunately, Wendy’s restaurants have excellent traceback systems as do members of the Leafy Greens Marketing Agreement (LGMA). The LGMA and its members are working in close contact with government regulators and will do everything possible to help them determine if the source of this outbreak is romaine and to prevent future illnesses.
It is believed that romaine lettuce used in the Wendy’s menu items consumed by sick people is of a specific type and is coming from limited suppliers in one production area. U.S. Food and Drug Administration investigators are working to isolate the source.
Please note that CDC is not advising people to stop consuming romaine or any other food at this time.
The Leafy Greens Marketing Agreement food safety programs operating in California and Arizona cover over 90 percent of the lettuce and leafy greens consumed in the U.S. Under this program, farmers are audited regularly to verify they are following a set of rigorous food safety practices on their farms.