Freshway Foods of Sidney, Ohio, announced on Thursday a recall of romaine lettuce after illnesses were reported in Michigan, Ohio and New York. The Food and Drug Administration said the illnesses included 12 people who have been hospitalized and three with potentially life-threatening symptoms.
The New York state Public Health Laboratory in Albany discovered the contamination in a bag of Freshway Foods shredded romaine lettuce on Wednesday, according to the FDA.
That bag of lettuce came from a processing facility that was also linked to the illnesses, the FDA said. The agency would not release the name of that facility or its location but said an investigation was under way.
E. coli infection can cause mild diarrhea or more severe complications, including kidney damage. The three patients with life-threatening symptoms were diagnosed with hemolytic uremic syndrome, which can cause bleeding in the brain or kidneys.
Freshway Foods said the lettuce was sold to wholesalers, food service outlets, in-store salad bars and delis in 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 affected lettuce has a "best if used by" date of May 12 or earlier. The recall also affects "grab and go" salads sold at Kroger, Giant Eagle, Ingles Markets and Marsh grocery stores.