State health officials warn of nearby E. coli outbreak linked to romaine lettuce
State health officials are advising Delaware residents to avoid eating chopped romaine lettuce, as several nearby states including Pennsylvania have seen E. coli outbreaks linked to romaine lettuce grown in Arizona.
Delaware’s Division of Public Health has not confirmed any cases of E. coli linked to romaine lettuce in the First State, but Pennsylvania has reported nine cases and New Jersey has reported seven. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 35 people across 11 states have been infected.
The division advises Delawareans who have bought chopped romaine lettuce to throw it out. Consumers should check that the lettuce they buy does not come from Yuma, Arizona.
According to the Delaware Department of Agriculture, the First State has not had a recall on any produce before.
Farmers across the state primarily produce butterhead lettuce. Delaware does not have any commercial farms that produce romaine lettuce.
Stacey Hofmann, a spokeswoman for the department, says one of the most important things a consumer can do after they buy bagged lettuce of any kind, is to make sure they wash it before eating.
"A lot of people get bagged lettuce and they assume it's ready to eat out of the bag," Hofmann said. "It's always best to take that extra step and rinse it off."
The Centers for Disease Control says 35 people from 11 states have been infected with the strain of E. coli from romaine lettuce. The CDC has not reported any deaths.