Earlier this week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention put out an unusually strong statement telling Americans to toss any Romaine Lettuce in any form: whole, chopped, pre-bagged into Caesar salads, combined into spring mix, and so on. The warning covered not just homes but retailers and restaurants, and came with a recommendation to empty any fridge where romaine has been stored, and wash it out with soap and warm water. From a report: The CDC said it was making the recommendation to not eat, serve or sell any romaine lettuce because 32 people in 11 states, plus 18 people in Ontario and Quebec, have been made ill by E. coli O157:H7, which causes very serious illness because it produces a toxin that destroys cells lining the intestines and kidneys. The patients are all infected with the same strain, based on genetic fingerprinting, and the only thing they have in common is that they all ate romaine. But, the CDC said, "no common grower, supplier, distributor, or brand of romaine lettuce has been identified." The agency isn't usually so sweeping in its statements, but with a holiday coming -- one that's centered around eating and that takes people offline into the real world of airports and cars and dinner tables -- it warned against all romaine until the threat can be better defined. The Food and Drug Administration, which does have the power to compel foods to be recalled, is investigating, along with health departments in the 11 states where people have gotten sick.
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