July 30, 2002
FDA ISSUES NATIONWIDE ALERT TO CONSUMERS ABOUT
SPOKANE PRODUCE BRAND ROMAINE LETTUCE DUE TO POSSIBLE HEALTH RISK
Spokane, WA (SafetyAlerts)
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is warning consumers not to consume
Spokane Produce brand romaine lettuce because this product has been
associated with an outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 in a cheerleading camp in
Washington state in mid July. FDA urges consumers to throw out this product.
E. coli O157:H7 causes a diarrheal illness often with bloody stools.
Although most healthy adults can recover completely within a week, some
people can develop a form of kidney failure called Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome
(HUS). HUS is most likely to occur in young children and the elderly. The
condition can lead to serious kidney damage and even death.
The latest reported illness associated with this outbreak was on July 19,
The romaine lettuce, which is sold under several different brand names, is
known to be packaged in 5 pound
bags labeled ?Romaine Toss? and was distributed by Food Services of America
which in the past had also distributed this product to restaurants and
institutions in Idaho, Montana, and Oregon. The product has a shelf life of
two weeks. To date, the outbreak has only involved exposure to romaine
lettuce packaged in these 5 pound bags. The romaine lettuce may also be sold
at retail establishments in various size packages.
Twenty-nine individuals at the cheerleading camp have been confirmed to have
E. coli O157:H7. Other illnesses in Washington state are being investigated.
This situation was discovered when many individuals at the camp became ill.
The FDA is working with the Spokane Regional Health District, Washington
State Department of Agriculture, Washington State Department of Health and
other agencies to determine the cause and scope of this problem.
Consumers should ask at the place of purchase in order to assure that they
do not consume Spokane Produce brand romaine lettuce until this health
emergency is resolved.