by baldilocks

I’m a little confused by this development.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued an updated statement on Friday urging consumers not to buy or consume romaine lettuce “unless you can confirm it is not from the Yuma, Ariz., growing region.”

“Based on new information, CDC is expanding its warning to consumers to cover all types of romaine lettuce from the Yuma, Ariz., growing region. This warning now includes whole heads and hearts of romaine lettuce, in addition to chopped romaine and salads and salad mixes containing romaine.”

The new warning comes after investigators discovered that inmates from a correctional facility in Alaska became ill after reportedly eating lettuce “from whole heads of romaine lettuce” from the affected region, the CDC said.(…)

There have been 53 reported cases in 16 states. Of those infected with the E. coli strain, 31 people have been hospitalized. Although there are not reported deaths, five people have developed hemolytic uremic syndrome, a kind of kidney failure.

I consider myself a bit of a green salad aficionado, since one of my Mom-mandated chores was to make the salad. The basic ingredients were tomatoes, green bell peppers, scallions and mushrooms. Optional ingredients: marinated artichoke hearts. (In my adulthood, I tend to improvise. Example: I prefer red onions.)

Oh yes, and there was always lettuce: red leaf, butter leaf and/or romaine. We turned up our noses up at iceberg.

My mom was and is a stickler for the preparation. Wash each leaf individually and thoroughly; tear the leaves into fork sized piece; absolutely no freaking spine.

See that first item? Wash the lettuce and every other fresh produce.

I can see pulling pre-prepared romaine salads off the shelf and foregoing the same from restaurants, but wouldn’t simply thoroughly washing the lettuce you buy yourself – perhaps using some produce washer — fix the problem or reduce the chance of there being one?

Help me out here.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng has been blogging since 2003 as baldilocks. Her older blog is here.  She published her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game in 2012.

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