Is Romaine Lettuce Safe to Eat?
Update Jan 2020: CDC is no longer advising that people avoid romaine lettuce from the Salinas Valley growing region in California. This outbreak appears to be over.
July 13, 2018
You order the salad with romaine lettuce at the restaurant. Or you head to the produce section of the grocery store, shopping list in hand, looking for romaine lettuce.
If you’re following a low-carb diet, leafy-greens like romaine lettuce, spinach, broccoli, and kale all make the list of foods to eat that aren’t high in carbs, but are low in calories.
But is romaine lettuce safe to eat? Yes. Why wouldn’t it be?
In May 25 people were sickened in Yuma, Arizona, after eating romaine lettuce contaminated with a dangerous strain of E. coli. And it wasn’t an isolated incidence.
After that initial report of romaine lettuce tainted with E. coli, more people go sick over the next few weeks. By the time the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention traced the origin of the outbreak to a grower in the area, 197 E. coli cases were reported in 35 states. Twenty-six of those people required hospitalization, and five people died after eating romaine lettuce contaminated with this unique strain of bacteria..
Once the CDC identified the source of contaminated romaine lettuce, the grower and long list of businesses within the supply chain destroyed the contaminated lettuce. And any remaining romaine lettuce from that particular crop and grower is gone now. That’s because freshly-harvested romaine lettuce only has a shelf life of about 7 to 10 days.
If you’re at a restaurant, or plan to make your own salad, romaine lettuce is once again safe to eat. And the immediate E. coli threat has been eliminated. But it’s still a good idea to thoroughly wash and rise produce to reduce the risk of getting sick.
Put together your favorite salad with romaine lettuce or some other leafy greens, and pair it with Low-Carb meals like Eggplant Parmigiana, Salmon Caponata with Orzo & Spinach, Diced Chicken with Rotini Pasta in Pesto Sauce, Broccoli & Carrots, or one of 50-plus low-carb meals that only take minutes to prepare in the microwave.