Bad news for those of us trying to eat more salads in the new year: Looks like romaine lettuce is off limits.
Consumer Reports was called on by the CDC to ask people in the U.S. and Canada to stay away from romaine lettuce after an E. coli outbreak has made 58 people sick and also killed one person.
“The Public Health Agency of Canada has identified romaine lettuce as the source of the outbreak in Canada,” the CDC said in its Dec. 28 statement.
“In the United States, state and local public health officials are interviewing sick people to determine what they ate in the week before their illness started. CDC is still collecting information to determine whether there is a food item in common among sick people, including leafy greens and romaine,” it added.
While it’s not certain lettuce is the root, the truth of the matter is that cooking will generally kill bacteria, but we tend to eat lettuce uncooked, meaning if it is infected, we have no recourse.
“Even though we can’t say with 100 percent certainty that romaine lettuce is the cause of the E. coli outbreak in the U.S., a greater degree of caution is appropriate given that romaine lettuce is almost always consumed raw,” said Dr. James Rogers, food safety director at Consumer Reports.
Apparently, the available information strongly suggests lettuce is the cause of this outbreak, so if you do have some lettuce, this is probably a good excuse to toss it and eat a big bowl of pasta instead.