E. coli is short for Escherichia coli. It is a gram negative rod-shaped bacterium that is commonly found in the lower intestine of warm-blooded organisms, such as humans.
Most strains of E. coli are harmless, but some can cause serious food poisoning cases in humans and some, like this one with contaminated lettuce, can prompt food recalls.
So far, as of May 7, 2010, at least 19 people have contracted E. coli from the now-recalled romaine lettuce and 3 of these people have symptoms that are reported as being 'life-threatening.'
The Associated Press article 'E. coli forces lettuce recall; 19 ill in 3 states' states that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced on Wednesday, May 5, 2010, that so far 12 people have been hospitalized.
The Thursday, May 6, 2010 FDA article 'FDA Supports Freshway Foods Voluntary Recall of Lettuce' reports on the recall of the lettuce by Freshway Foods.
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The CDC report on the case in its May 6, 2010 article 'Investigation Announcement: Multistate Outbreak of Human E. coli O145 Infections Linked to Shredded Romaine Lettuce from a Single Processing Facility.'
The CDC article states, 'The bacteria responsible for this outbreak are referred to as Shiga toxin-producing E. coli, or STEC. STECs have been associated with human illness, including bloody diarrhea and a potentially fatal kidney condition called hemolytic-uremic syndrome (HUS).'
And, the AP article states, 'The recalled lettuce has a "best if used by" date of May 12 or earlier. The recall also affects "grab and go" salads sold at Kroger, Giant Eagle, Ingles Markets and Marsh grocery stores.'
It goes on to state, 'The lettuce was sold in Alabama, Connecticut, the District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia and Wisconsin.'
On Thursday, May 6, 2010, Freshway Foods issued a recall of its romaine lettuce. To learn the latest about the recall from Freshway Foods, please go to its webpage 'Recall'