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Lettuce recall expands

WASHINGTON (AP) - An outbreak of E. coli poisoning has expanded
to Tennessee, where one more person has been sickened after eating
romaine lettuce grown on an Arizona farm.
The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says
there are 23 confirmed cases of E. coli and seven probable cases
connected to the tainted lettuce. That is up from 19 confirmed by
CDC earlier this week.
The rest of those sickened live in Michigan, Ohio and New York.
Many of them were middle school, high school and college students
who ate in school cafeterias. The CDC said there are 10 confirmed
cases in Michigan, eight confirmed cases in Ohio, four confirmed
cases in New York and one confirmed case in Tennessee. All of those
sickened became ill before late April.
The strain of E. coli involved in the outbreak is rare and
difficult to diagnose, so there may be more unreported cases,
officials have said.
There have been two recalls of romaine lettuce related to the
outbreak, both by distributors who bought lettuce from the same
Yuma, Ariz., farm. Ohio-based Freshway Foods announced a 23-state
recall of romaine lettuce last week, while Vaughn Foods of Moore,
Okla., announced a recall Monday.
Vaughn Foods bought its lettuce from California-based Andrew
Smith Co., a supply company which shipped the lettuce after
purchasing it from the Arizona farm. The Food and Drug
Administration, which is investigating the outbreak, has so far
declined to give the name of the farm.
Andrew Smith Co. would not say if they supplied romaine lettuce
to Freshway Foods. Amy Philpott, a spokeswoman for Andrew Smith
Co., said the company did sell the lettuce to an additional
distributor in Massachusetts but would not identify that
distributor because the lettuce is already past its expiration
date.
The FDA said it is still attempting to determine the point in
the supply chain where the contamination occurred, since it went
through several facilities before it was eaten. As a supplier,
Andrew Smith Co. buys bulk romaine lettuce from farms and sells it
to distributors. Those distributors, such as Freshway Foods and
Vaughn Foods, then sell it to food service outlets or retail
customers.
Many of those who became ill were college students in the three
states. Middle and high school students in New York were also
sickened, including a 15-year-old and a 17-year-old who developed
hemolytic uremic syndrome, which can cause bleeding in the brain or
kidneys. Local health authorities in Dutchess County, N.Y., where
the students fell ill, said they are all expected to make a full
recovery.
The E. coli was discovered by New York health authorities in a
bag of Freshway Foods shredded romaine lettuce last week after they
had been investigating the outbreak in the schools for several
weeks.
Most of the lettuce recalled was sold to food service
establishments. The recall does not affect bagged lettuce in the
grocery store.
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On the Net:
CDC:
http://www.cdc.gov/ecoli/2010/ecoli(underscore)o145/index.html
FDA:
http://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/ucm211529.
htm
Freshway Foods: http://www.freshwayfoods.com/recall/


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