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New Lettuce Recall Involves Potentially Fatal Strain of E.coli

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Haven’t we all had enough stress for one year? An out of control virus that just won’t go away, civil and political unrest, and now….. An increasing number of food recalls continue to threaten our health and wellbeing. Do you buy produce at Walmart? If you have shopped over the weekend at Walmart and purchased single head romaine lettuce – don’t eat it! 

The most recent fresh produce recall applies to Tanimura & Antle bagged single head lettuce. E.coli was found during a test in Michigan that was traced back to a Walmart in Comstock. The worst part of all is that the strain of E.coli found (0157:H7) is one of the most likely strains of bacteria to cause hemolytic uremic syndrome ( HUS), which is a type of kidney failure that can be fatal.

The Center’s for Diseases Control and Prevention (CDC) tells us that up to 10 percent of people with this scary strain of E.col develop HUS. Signs of this condition include:

  • Decreased urination
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Loss of color in cheeks and lower eyelids

Young children and the elderly are most likely to develop HUS with long=term effects that can cause severe kidney damage and even death. The FDA urges anyone who is experiencing any of these telltale symptoms to contact a physician immediately.

Walmart has posted a list of all stores that may be infected by this most recent food recall, including 19 states and Puerto Rico. It is believed that the recall impacts  3,396 bags of lettuce that were packaged on October 15 or 16th. If you or someone you know has a suspicious bag of lettuce, throw it out or return it to the store for a full refund.

Food recalls continuing to pile up

There has been a long list of food recalls piling up over the past three months or so, including:

  • Trader Joe’s gluten-free battered halibut – recalled because it contained undeclared wheat and milk allergens.
  • Spice Hunter spice blends – recalled due to potential Salmonella contamination.
  • Sunshine Mills dog food – recalled due to potential Salmonella contamination.
  • Thomson International onions – recalled due to potential Salmonella contamination.
  • Natural Grocers organic whole elderberries – recalled due to potential Salmonella contamination.
  • J&O mixed veggie cup with dip – recalled due to undeclared egg product
  • Kader Exports frozen shrimp – recalled due to potential Salmonella contamination.
  • Wegman’s store lemons oranges, in-store produced seafood –  recalled due to potential Listeria contamination.
  • Prima Wawona peaches – recalled due to reported Salmonella infections.
  • Progresso chicken soup – recalled due to undeclared allergens. 
  • Giant Food Stores House brand squash noodle medley – recalled due to found Listeria

What you can do to stay safe

Besides paying attention to any news of food recalls and throwing out any affected products, be sure to wash fresh produce thoroughly before eating. Doing this won’t kill bacteria if the lettuce is contaminated but will help remove any lingering pesticide residue. And though buying organic is a great way to avoid this, organic lettuce is just as susceptible to E. coli as non-organic lettuce.

Consider starting your very own garden to grow fresh food – you can even grow many edible plants successfully in very little space or even indoors if you don’t have outdoor space. This way, you know exactly where your food is coming from and can avoid human transmitted E. coli and other contamination. 

Shop locally whenever you can. Support farmers in your area and eat produce that doesn’t have to travel thousands of miles to reach your table. This limits the number of people who come into contact with the product, decreasing the risk of contamination. As long as the farmers practice safe growing, you are better off purchasing locally sourced leafy greens. 

Susan Patterson – Master Gardener

 

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