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E Coli Outbreak Linked to Romain Lettuce

There is a recall on shredded romain lettuce in 23 states, which include 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 shredded romaine lettuce was sold to wholesalers, restaurants and in "grab and go" type of convenience packages. At least 19 people so far have fallen ill from an uncommon strain of E. coli that is not always included in laboratory tests for infections.

Twelve people have been hospitalized since April 10, 2010, and three people developed kidney failure, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in a press release.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has announced that consumers should discard the recalled bags with a "best if used by" date of May 12 or earlier. Lettuce with "best if used by" date after May 12 are not included in the recall.

Recalled bags of shredded lettuce were sold to Kroger, Giant Eagle, Ingles Markets and Marsh grocery stores. Many schools in Michigan served the recalled lettuce, including University of Michigan and Crabnrook school.

Michigan Health Coach Cheryl Heppard, commented, "There is always a higher risk of contamination with bagged lettuce, because if just some of it is contaminated, the whole batch becomes contaminated during the processing and being combined.  It's much safer to buy individual heads of lettuce, and as a bonus, it's more cost effective as well."

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