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CDC Warns Not To Eat Romaine Lettuce From Salinas Over E. Coli Fears

SALINAS (CBS SF) – Federal officials warned consumers Friday not to eat romaine lettuce grown in the Salinas area amid concerns of an E. coli outbreak.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued the warning after 40 people in 16 states became infected with E. coli O157:H7. As of Thursday, 28 people have been hospitalized, and five people have developed hemolytic uremic syndrome, a type of kidney failure.

Four of the infections were reported in California. No deaths have been reported.

"Preliminary information indicates that some of the ill people ate lettuce grown in Salinas," the CDC said in its statement, adding that "No common grower, supplier, distributor, or brand of romaine lettuce has been identified." The investigation is ongoing.

The CDC said the warning applies to all types of romaine lettuce harvested from Salinas, including whole heads of romaine, along with packages of precut lettuce and salad mixes containing romaine, including spring mix and Caesar salad.

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On Thursday, the USDA announced that Missa Bay LLC recalled more than 75,000 pounds of salad products containing the potentially contaminated lettuce. The recalled products were sold under many different brand names.

Officials said most romaine lettuce products are labeled with the location where they are grown, and consumers are urged to throw away any products from Salinas or don't have any labels indicating where it was grown. Consumers are also urged to wash refrigerator drawers or shelves where romaine lettuce is stored.

Supermarkets and restaurants are also urged not to serve or sell romaine lettuce unless they are sure it is not from Salinas.

Last year, another nationwide warning about romaine lettuce was issued following an E. coli outbreak traced to lettuce grown at a farm in Santa Barbara County. More than 60 people in 16 states and the District of Columbia were sickened in the outbreak.

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