The annual romaine harvest in the Southwest begins in November in Yuma and transitions with the weather to growing regions in southern California between mid-March and early April.
Restaurant owner Olivia Bellard says, "Thankfully, it hasn't affected our restaurant at all, we don't use romaine lettuce here, we use head lettuce, leafy lettuce, and we usually chop that up for our salads and that's also what we use to dress our burger and sandwiches and stuff like that, so, thankfully it hasn't affected us". How is this happening? Health officials are continuing to investigate the source of the ongoing outbreak but still have not been able to identify a single grower, farm, manufacturer, supplier or brand. Is it the fields? Nobody seems to know. The "DNA fingerprints" of all 13 of these E. coli match that of the outbreak strain.
No details about the victim were immediately released except that the person was in California, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Cases range in age from 1 to 88 years, with a median age of 29. Sixty-three percent of ill people are female.
Researchers say 642,000 cases of disease related to bug bites were reported from 2004 through 2016. One person in California has died.
It seems inconceivable that, after four full months, officials wouldn't be able to pinpoint the source of the contamination. Styles was one of them, her federal complaint states. Add to that the fact that raw foods have to move fast from the field to the grocery store to remain fresh and you have a complex problem on your hands.
An Arizona woman claims in a lawsuit filed last week that she came down with a serious illness after tainted romaine lettuce from Yuma ended up on her plate at a Red Lobster restaurant.
Anyone who has eaten romaine lettuce and developed symptoms of E. coli infection should immediately seek medical attention and tell their doctors about their possible exposure pathogen.