Don't Eat Romaine Lettuce, U.S. Says, as E. Coli Outbreak Widens

(Bloomberg) -- Stay away from romaine lettuce.

That’s the message from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, after more than 50 people were sickened by eating E. coli-contaminated lettuce that came from the Yuma, Arizona, growing region.

The CDC issued its latest warning about the popular type of lettuce after new cases were reported in Alaska, expanding it to include whole heads, hearts, salad mixes and chopped romaine.

Yuma County is responsible for 90 percent of all leafy vegetables grown in the U.S., from November to March, according to the county’s Chamber of Commerce. During peak production months, the area’s nine salad plants each process more than 2 million pounds of lettuce per day.

The outbreak has sickened 53 people in 16 states, including 31 who were hospitalized, according to the agency. The CDC said five victims have developed kidney failure, though no deaths have been reported.

“Unless the source of the product is known, consumers anywhere in the United States who have any store-bought romaine lettuce at home should not eat it and should throw it away, even if some of it was eaten and no one has gotten sick,” the CDC said.

The CDC also said restaurants and retailers shouldn’t sell or serve lettuce from the Yuma area.

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