Good news for those who hate eating greens — caesar salads can actually be considered life-threatening right now. That’s because romaine lettuce is currently deemed as a threat to public health in the United States, where 32 people have been infected with a dangerous strain of E. coli that could possibly lead to kidney failure.
Though many strains of E. coli aren’t actually harmful when ingested, this one’s pretty hazardous. E. coli O157:H7 produces something called the Shiga toxin, one of the most potent biological poisons known, and is actually lethal to animals upon injection. Already, thirteen people in the US have been hospitalized and one developed kidney failure. In Canada, 18 have been infected and one developed kidney failure as well. All from eating romaine lettuce. See, mom.
While public health officials in both the US and Canada have advised consumers to abstain from any romaine lettuce and even toss them away if they have some in their homes, the situation in Singapore seems relatively alright. The Straits Times reported that the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) of Singapore has yet to issue a recall for the lettuce, but are still advising folks to practice precaution.
According to AVA, the US authorities did not specify the brand (or brands) of romaine lettuce nor the farms that are related to the outbreak. Which does make it scarier — what if all romaine lettuces are infected?
As such, AVA advised consumers who’ve already bought romaine lettuce (especially now, for Thanksgiving dinners) to throw the produce away if they remain uncertain of the vegetable’s origins. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention in the US have already urged consumers not to eat any romaine lettuce altogether as the grower, supplier, distributor or brand of infected produce has yet to be identified.
Folks usually get sick from Shiga toxin-producing E. Coli between three to four days on average after swallowing the germ. Symptoms include bloody diarrhea, high fever, and profuse vomiting.