The E. coli outbreak linked to romaine lettuce from Salinas, CA has grown to include 138 patients, 13 of whom have a form of kidney failure called hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). Since the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) last updated the outbreak on December 4, the outbreak has grown to include two more states, 36 more people and two more cases of HUS. The most recent illness was reported on December 1.
Federal investigators have had a difficult time identifying a romaine source that can explain all of the illnesses. For example, in Maryland, illnesses were linked to Ready Pac Bistro Bowl Caesar Chicken Salads sold at Sam’s Club stores. The salads contained romaine from Salinas. After state health officials found the outbreak strain in an unopened package at one of the patient’s homes, Missa Bay, the company that makes the salads, issued a recall.
But patients in other states didn’t eat Ready Pac Bistro salads so a supplier that affected multiple products must be involved. The problem has been determining who that supplier is. What the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has figured out so far is that all of the patients sickened in this outbreak ate romaine lettuce that was grown in Salinas, CA. On November 20, both the CDC and the FDA issued a public health alert for romaine lettuce from Salinas.
Weeks later, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services found the outbreak strain of E. coli O157:H7 in an unopened bag of Fresh Express brand Leafy Green Romaine collected from an ill person’s home. Salinas was the growing region identified on the bag.
The FDA has determined that one of the growers for that Fresh Express product also supplied romaine linked to two other E. coli outbreaks the agency is investigating. One s linked to Evergreens restaurants in Seattle the other, linked to Fresh Express Sunflower Crisp Chopped Salad Kits,includes illnesses in Canada, Minnesota, Wisconsin and North Dakota.
The E. coli lawyers at Pritzker Hageman have represented clients in every major E. coli outbreak in the last two decades. Our clients from this outbreak include a teenager who developed HUS. If you would like to request a free consultation with our experienced E. coli Team, call us at 1-888-377-8900, text us at 612-261-0856 or, fill out the form below.