Skip to main content

What Caused E.Coli Contamination of Lettuce?

U.S. investigators zero in on canal water in Arizona.

Romaine lettuce in grocery store.

It took several months, but U.S. investigators now know more about the E. Coli contamination that affected romaine lettuce, sickening 210 and causing five deaths.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control examined water samples from a canal in Yuma, Arizona, and matched the E. Coli strain found in the canal to the strain that infected patients across the United States. More analysis is needed to understand how E. Coli entered the canal and how that led to the contamination of lettuce, the CDC said.

Get the latest stories from Vita by signing up for our newsletter.

Patients who have primary immunodeficiency disease are particularly vulnerable to foodborne illness and should be alert to food recalls and reports of food-related illness. Find out more in an article that recommends: When in Doubt, Throw It Out.

The CDC offers regular updates on its outbreaks page. Recent alerts have included Kellogg’s Honey Smacks Cereal and pre-cut melon.