Freshway Lettuce E. coli O145 OutbreakAt least 33 people, many of them college students, became ill with E. coli O145, a toxic strain of the Escherichia coli bacterium which can cause serious illnesses, in April and May of 2010. The illnesses were clustered around University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Ohio State University in Columbus, Daemen College in Amherst New York, near Bufflalo, and in Tennessee Health authorities focused their investigation on food service, and on May 5,2010, Freshway Foods recalled romaine lettuce product due to E. coli O145 contamination.
According to the FDA press release on the recall, the products were branded as Freshway or Imperial Sysco, and distributed to food service, wholesale, and salad bar outlets in Alabama, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wisconsin. The recalled romaine products were also sold for distribution to in-store salad bars and delis for Kroger, Giant Eagle, Ingles Markets, and Marsh stores in the states listed.
Three patients developed a type of kidney failure known as hemolytic-uremic syndrome, or HUS. No deaths were reported.
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