Recalls of beef and romaine lettuce are in effect just in time for the holiday season as health officials warn they may have been contaminated with the deadly E. coli bacteria.
The first recall of romaine lettuce was announced earlier this week by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and urged consumers to throw away any romaine lettuce they may have in their house. That includes all types of romaine lettuce —whole heads, hearts, bags of salad and pre-cut mixes.
Across the country, 23 people have been infected with a strain of the Shiga toxin-producing E. coli bacteria in 11 states. Illnesses started between Oct. 8 and Oct. 31. The toxin can cause kidney failure, though no deaths have been reported.
Symptoms of E. coli bacteria generally begin between two to eight days after swallowing the germ. Symptoms include diarrhea that lasts more than three days accompanied by high fever, blood in the stool or so much vomiting that a person cannot keep liquids down. Those experiencing symptoms should contact their health care provider.
Ground beef in several states also was recalled this week by the U.S. Department of Agriculture after Swift Beef Co., a Utah-based meat packer, recalled nearly 100,000 pounds of raw ground beef. The beef was also contaminated with E. coli.
The recalled packages include 2,000 pound bulk pallets of Swift Ground Beef with the product code 42982, and consumer weighted eight to 10 pound packages with the product codes 42410, 42413 and 42415. This beef was shipped to locations in Washington, California, Nevada, Oregon and Utah.
Consumers should safely prepare raw meet products and only eat ground beef that has been cooked to an internal temperature of 165 Fahrenheit.