There’s a major romaine lettuce recall happening right now: Tanimura & Antle, a California-based company, is voluntarily recalling its romaine lettuce heads in 20 states due to possible E. coli contamination.
The recall affects single packaged whole heads of romaine lettuce produced under the brand name Tanimura & Antle, according to a press release posted to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) website. Only those with packaging dates of October 15 or October 16, 2020, are included. In all, the recall includes 3,396 cartons of romaine lettuce that were distributed to 20 states. (For the full list of affected products and states, check the FDA site here.)
There haven’t been any illnesses reported in relation to the recall, the press release says. But the company is recalling the lettuce out of an abundance of caution after a random sampling test conducted by the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development detected E. coli on the company’s lettuce. These products were sold at Walmart in clear plastic packaging with blue and white lettering.
Specifically, they detected the presence of E. coli O157:H7, which is a type of Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC). Not all types of E. coli cause harmful infections, but STEC strains definitely can. The symptoms of these infections typically include stomach cramps, diarrhea (which can be bloody), and vomiting, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) explains. Some people will also develop a low fever.
For most otherwise healthy adults, the infection isn’t serious and will go away within five to seven days without treatment, the CDC says. But for some people in more vulnerable groups, such as very young children and the elderly, an E. coli infection can become more severe. In the most severe cases, the infection can cause something called hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), in which the bacteria causes a form of kidney failure, SELF explained previously.
If this E. coli recall sounds familiar, it might be because there were multiple outbreaks of this particular E. coli strain in romaine lettuce back in 2018 linked to producers in California and Arizona. There was a romaine lettuce recall in both of those cases, but hundreds of people still got sick, some were hospitalized, and a few died due to the outbreaks.
Because of the shelf life for romaine lettuce and the amount of time that’s already passed, the company says it’s unlikely that any of the recalled products are still on store shelves. But it’s worth checking your kitchen to make sure you don’t have any hiding out at home.