The next time you order a salad you should choose something other than romaine lettuce, at least for the time being. According to Consumer Reports, at least 58 people in 13 states and Canada have contracted a dangerous strain of the E. coli bacteria, and two of those people have died.
Canadian health authorities claim to have tracked the outbreak to romaine lettuce and have advised residents to avoid the salad staple as a precaution. U.S. authorities are investigating, but have stopped short of blaming romaine lettuce as the cause. Consumer Reports is suggesting to err on the side of caution because "lettuce is almost always consumed raw:"
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 lettuce is almost always consumed raw
The symptoms of E. coli include severe stomach cramps, diarrhea, vomiting and a fever. The symptoms usually start to show between one and three days after eating contaminated food. If you have symptoms for longer than three days the Center for Disease Control recommends seeing a doctor.
A small percentage of people who are exposed to E. coli may develop hemolytic uremic syndrome, a serious condition that can lead to kidney failure and death. Symptoms include extreme fatigue, decreased urination and paleness in the cheeks and under the eyes, and start to show about a week after being infected.