Food poisoning from romaine lettuce confirmed in Wisconsin

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APPLETON, Wis. (WBAY) - The food poisoning outbreak linked to romaine lettuce has spread to three more states, including Wisconsin.

Photo: Forest & Kim Starr / CC BY 3.0 / MGN

Health officials on Friday said they now have reports of 98 cases in 22 states, with the addition of Mississippi, Tennessee and Wisconsin. The outbreak is blamed on E. coli bacteria in romaine lettuce grown in Yuma, Arizona.

Click here for the CDC website on the romaine lettuce outbreak.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the bacteria strain behind the outbreak tends to cause more serious illnesses. Forty-six people have been hospitalized, including 10 with kidney failure. The most recent illness began a week ago. No deaths are reported.

Health officials say people shouldn't eat romaine lettuce unless they know it's not from Yuma. The Yuma region provides most of the romaine sold in the U.S. every winter.

In Northeast Wisconsin, Action 2 News contacted a number of grocery stores and restaurants to see how they're responding. Many did not wish to speak about the CDC report.

However, Festival Foods told us its stores removed romaine lettuce even though their supply comes from unaffected areas in California.

In a statement the company wrote, "This was a precautionary measure to ensure the safety of our shoppers."

Action 2 News also checked with Feeding America, which supplies produce for food pantries. They have locations in Appleton and Milwaukee.

Marketing and Communication Director Lori Holly said, "The recall product as I understand it is a pre-packaged product, and our food safety guys watch all of our shipments that come in, and at the moment we have not received any of the lettuce that has been recalled."

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