The Commonwealth Healthcare Corp. is advising consumers to not eat any romaine lettuce, and retailers and restaurants not serve or sell any, until the CHCC learns more about the E. coli outbreak in the U.S. mainland affecting the product.
In a statement on Monday, CHCC’s Public Health and Hospital Emergency Preparedness and Epidemiology and Laboratory Capacity Programs with the Bureau of Environmental Health said the outbreak is now being investigated and, until the investigation is done, for consumers to avoid using romaine lettuces.
While the outbreak is under investigation, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Food and Drug Administration, and the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention advises against consuming the product. The FDA is conducting a traceback investigation to determine the source of the romaine lettuce eaten by people who became sick.
The United States multistate outbreak of Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli O157:H7 (E. coli O157:H7) infections have been linked to romaine lettuce.
Consumers who have any type of romaine lettuce in their home should not eat it and should throw it away, even if some of it was eaten and no one has gotten sick.
This advice includes all types or uses of romaine lettuce, such as whole heads of romaine, hearts of romaine, and bags and boxes of precut lettuce and salad mixes that contain romaine, including baby romaine, spring mix, and Caesar salad.
If you do not know if the lettuce is romaine or whether a salad mix contains romaine, do not eat it and throw it away.
Wash and sanitize drawers or shelves in refrigerators where romaine was stored.
Restaurants and retailers should not serve or sell any romaine lettuce, including salads and salad mixes containing romaine.
Protect your health by following these simple tips:
• Wash your hands. Wash hands after using the restroom or changing diapers, before and after preparing or eating food, and after contact with animals.
• Don’t prepare food or drink for others when you are sick.
• Don’t cross-contaminate food preparation areas. Thoroughly wash hands, counters, cutting boards, and utensils after they touch raw meat.
• Wash fruits and vegetables before eating, unless the package says the contents have been washed.
For HHS updates on this matter, access https://www.cdc.gov/ecoli/2018/o157h7-11-18/index.html and https://www.fda.gov/Food/RecallsOutbreaksEmergencies/Outbreaks/ucm626330.htm
To report a notifiable disease or possible E.coli infection, contact Dr. Paul White, the Territorial Epidemiologist in the PHEP and ELC Program, by email email@example.com or call the CHCC at (670) 234-8950.
To report a possible source of contaminated romaine lettuce (produce sold in stores or served in restaurants) call BEH office at 234-8950 Ext. 2920/2915, or email BEH director, John Tagabuel, at firstname.lastname@example.org. (PR)