05/12/2010 // West Palm Beach, Florida, USA // Sandra Quinlan // Sandra Quinlan

Sidney, OH—Officials from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as well as other state health authorities, have linked a food borne illness outbreak to recently recalled romaine lettuce. Sidney, Ohio-based Freshway Foods issued the recall due to a possible connection between the lettuce and an E. coli O145 outbreak. According to the FDA, there were 19 cases of E. coli O145 infections as of Monday, May 11, 2010.

The recall stemmed from the discovery of the E. coli O145 bacteria in a previously unopened sample of romaine lettuce. The sample tested positive at a New York state laboratory. In an updated report, officials confirmed that the strain of E. coli O145 found in the sample of romaine matched the outbreak strain of E. coli O145.

A total of 19 cases of E. coli O145 infections were reported throughout Michigan, Ohio and New York. Of these cases, 12 victims were hospitalized.

Reports also noted three people suffered from hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a potentially lethal complication brought on by E. coli O145. The FDA news release defined HUS as a “serious condition in which the body’s blood-clotting mechanisms are altered, causing blocked circulation or bleeding in the brain or kidneys”.

The FDA also reported, “Andrew Smith, Co., a Salinas, California-based grower-shipper who distributed the lettuce from the farm in Yuma, has contacted its customers to recall any lettuce originating from the farm. Vaughan Foods of Moore, Oklahoma, a supplier of processed and packaged lettuce for restaurants and other food service facilities, received romaine lettuce grown on the Yuma farm from Andrew Smith, Co. and is recalling romaine lettuce with “use-by” dates of May 9 and May 10.”

Health officials are currently conducting investigations at the Freshway Foods processing facility and a farm in Yuma, Arizona, where the romaine lettuce originated from, to determine where the E. coli O145 contamination occurred.

For more information regarding the food safety recall, consumers may contact the Freshway Foods’ information desk at (888) 361-7106 Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. or on the company’s Web site, www.FreshwayFoods.com.

For a full list of recalled romaine products, please refer to the FDA’s press release at http://www.fda.gov/Safety/Recalls/ucm211131.htm.

Legal News Reporter: Sandra Quinlan- Legal News for Product Liability Attorneys.

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