Tainted romaine lettuce is being blamed for four more deaths, bringing the total to five deaths related to a strain of E. coli, say federal health officials.
According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the last shipments of romaine lettuce from the Yuma growing region were harvested on April 16, and the harvest season is over.
"Any contaminated product from the Yuma growing region has already worked its way through the food supply and is no longer available for consumption", said FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb. On Friday, health officials said they had learned of four more - one in Arkansas, one in NY, and two in Minnesota.
Three reported illnesses in Texas have been linked to the multistate outbreak of a risky bacteria in romaine lettuce, according to the latest update from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Five deaths have been reported from Arkansas (1), California (1), Minnesota (2), and NY (1). The cause of the poisoning then it was Romaine lettuce.
But don't throw out your romaine just yet.
The sweeping advisory came after information tied to some new illnesses prompted health officials to caution against eating all kinds of romaine lettuce that came from Yuma.
Retailers cleared romaine lettuce off shelves and are continuing to reassure and educate customers about the origin of their lettuce.
Most E. coli bacteria are not harmful, but some produce toxins that can cause severe illness.
Dr. Robert Glatter, an emergency physician at Lenox Hill Hospital, said that does not eliminate the possibility of an E. coli spread.
The CDC stressed that E. coli illness can be very serious, even deadly.
Symptoms include diarrhea, which can be bloody, severe stomach cramps and vomiting.
While most people recover within a week, some illnesses can last longer and be more severe, the CDC cautioned.
In early May, the Minnesota Department of Health confirmed 10 cases of E. coli infection in Minnesota, with three requiring hospitalization.