It’s safe to eat romaine lettuce again, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and we’re all breathing a sigh of relief! The romaine lettuce recall had us steering clear (here’s our story from back in April).
Why you can buy romaine again
The recent outbreak of E. coli-related illness was linked with romaine that was grown in Yuma, Arizona. Because Yuma-grown lettuce is shipped all over the country, by mid-May, 172 people had gotten sick in 32 states, even with lots of announcements about the romaine recall.
But romaine lettuce hasn’t been distributed from Yuma since at least April 16, 2018. Because romaine only has a shelf life of 21 days, it’s highly unlikely that any Yuma-grown romaine is still available in stores. In other words, any romaine that was suspected of having been contaminated with E. coli bacteria is past its sell-by date, and presumably, off the shelf.
(That means we can make our favorite caesar salad again!)
The outbreak might not be over
The FDA is continuing to keep an eye on illnesses related to romaine, but you should be good to buy lettuce again. Just use these tips to keep your lettuce fresh and bacteria-free.
It can take up to 10 days for symptoms of an E. coli–related illness to appear after eating contaminated food. That makes new outbreaks unlikely as of now. However, if you’ve eaten romaine that you think was contaminated, it would be a good idea to contact your health care provider to report your symptoms and receive assistance. (To avoid getting sick, here’s how to protect your family from E. coli.)
This isn’t the first time E. coli has contaminated romaine lettuce in the last couple months, and might not be the last. So please remember to wash all your leafy greens, especially pre-washed lettuce. Stay safe!