Avoid Romaine Lettuce for Now, Consumer Reports Says

Neither the CDC or Canadian health officials have provided any information on where the romaine lettuce potentially involved in the illnesses was grown or processed, so for now, assume that any romaine lettuce, even when sold in bags and packages, could possibly be contaminated, Rogers says. Don’t buy romaine lettuce and don’t use any that you may have in your refrigerator until there is more information on the source of contamination. In their warning, the Canadian health officials noted that romaine lettuce can have a shelf life of up to five weeks, so lettuce you purchased a few weeks ago could still be contaminated. Check salad blends and mixes, too, and avoid those that contain romaine.

Symptoms of infection with E. coli 0157:H7 are severe stomach cramps, diarrhea (often bloody), and vomiting. Some people may have a slight fever.

The symptoms typically start 1 to 3 days after eating a contaminated food, but may occur as late as 10 days afterwards. The CDC recommends seeing a doctor if you have a high fever, bloody diarrhea, or severe vomiting, or if diarrhea lasts longer than 3 days.

About 5 to 10 percent of people infected with E. coli 0157:H7 may develop hemolytic uremic syndrome, a serious condition which affects the blood vessels and can lead to kidney failure and death. This condition (which includes symptoms such as extreme fatigue, decreased urination and paleness in the cheeks and under the eyes) typically occurs about 7 days after E. coli symptoms first start.