E.Coli Tainted Romaine Lettuce Recalled in 23 States

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Freshway Foods wholesale Romaine lettuce products have been recalled in 23 states and the District of Columbia because of possible contamination with E.coli 0145. These products were sold wholesale to restaurants and supermarkets under the Freshway or Imperial Sysco brands, and do not include bagged lettuce that consumers purchase in the grocery store.

So far, 19 cases of E.coli illness have been reported in Michigan, Ohio, and New York. Twelve people have been hospitalized, three with a life-threatening condition called hemolytic uremic syndrome or HUS. This in turn, prompted this current lettuce recall.

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HUS usually begins as a flu-like illness with gastrointestinal symptoms such as vomiting, abdominal pain, fever, and diarrhea. As the condition progresses, symptoms such as pallor (sudden paleness), weakness, lack of energy and the excretion of abnormally diminished amounts of urine occur as the kidneys are unable to process and remove waste products from the blood. Acute renal failure, a decrease in circulating red blood cells, and the reduction of oxygen to the body can potentially lead to multiple organ dysfunction or failure.

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Freshway Foods contacted the FDA on Wednesday after an unopened product sample in New York State tested positive for E.coli. The FDA is continuing to investigate and have found that the people who got sick ate lettuce from one processing facility.

“We practice strict food safety guidelines to ensure that our products are as safe as possible, and we will continue to look for opportunities for improvement,” Freshway president Phil Gilardi said in a statement. “We are voluntarily issuing this recall because we want to do everything possible to minimize risk to public health.”

The recalled packages containing shredded romaine lettuce have a use-by date of May 12 or earlier. They were sold to food service outlets, wholesale, and in-store retail salad bars and delis.

Freshway Foods, based in Ohio, is advising consumers not to eat “grab and go” salads sold in store salad bars and delis at Kroger, Giant Eagle, Ingles Markets and Marsh stores in the following states: 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.

Consumers with questions may call Freshway Foods' information desk at 1-888-361-7106 or visit the company's web site at www.freshwayfoods.com for more information.

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