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Almost 6 dozen outbreaks traced to leafy greens since 1995

Editor’s note: Thanks to Doug Powell and Ben Chapman at barfblog.com for compiling the below list of outbreaks linked to leafy greens.


The current E. coli O157:H7 outbreak traced to chopped romaine lettuce is the latest in a string of almost 80 foodborne illness outbreaks linked to leafy greens in the past 23 years.

As of April 18, there were 53 people across 16 states confirmed to be infected with the outbreak strain of E. coli O157:H7. Those states and the number of cases in each are Alaska 1, Arizona 3, California 1, Connecticut 2, Idaho 10, Illinois 1, Louisiana 1, Michigan 2, Missouri 1, Montana 6, New Jersey 7, New York 2, Ohio 2, Pennsylvania, 12, Virginia 1 and Washington.

Federal officials and produce industry groups are stressing that only chopped romaine from the growing area near Yuma, AZ, has thus far been implicated in the current outbreak. But, a variety of leafy greens products have been the source of foodborne illness outbreaks since at least 1995.

Outlined here is a list of E. coli and other pathogen outbreaks involving contaminated lettuce or leafy greens.


Date Causative Agent Illnesses Reported Source
Nov. 2017- Dec. 2017 E. coli O157:H7 41, 1 death  romaine lettuce
Dec. 2015-Jan. 2016 Listeria monocytogenes 19, 1 death package salads
Apr. 2015 Escherichia coli, Shiga toxin-producing 7 prepackaged leafy greens
Mar. 2015 E. coli O157:H7 12 leafy greens
Jul. 2014 E. coli O111 15 Salad/cabbage served at Applebee’s  and Yard House (Minnesota)
Oct. 2013 E. coli O157:H7 33 Pre-packaged salads and sandwich wraps (California)
Jul. 2013 E. coli O157:H7 94 Lettuce served at Federico’s Mexican Restaurant
Jul. 2013 Cyclospora 140 (Iowa); 87 (Nebraska) Salad mix, cilantro
Dec. 2012 – Jan. 2013 E. coli O157:H7 31 Shredded lettuce from Freshpoint, Inc.
Oct. 2012 E. coli O157:H7 33 Leafy greens salad mix (Massachusetts)
Apr. 2012 E. coli O157:H7 28 Romaine lettuce
Dec. 2011 Salmonella Hartford 5 Lettuce; roast beef
Dec. 2011 Norovirus 9 Lettuce, unspecified
Oct. 2011 E. coli O157:H7 58 Romaine lettuce
Oct. 2011 E. coli O157:H7 26 Lettuce
Aug. 2011 N/A 8 Lettuce; onions; tomatoes
Jul. 2011 Cyclospora cayatenensis 99 Lettuce based salads
Jun. 2011 Norovirus 23 Garden salad
Apr. 2011 Salmonella Typhimirum 36 Multiple salads
Feb. 2011 Norovirus 24 Garden salad
Jan. 2011 Norovirus 93 Lettuce; salad, unspecified
Jul.-Oct. 2010 Salmonella Java 136 Salad vegetable
May 2010 E. coli O145 33
(26 lab-confirmed)
Romaine Lettuce grown in Arizona
Apr. 2010 Salmonella Hvittingfoss 102 Lettuce, tomatoes, and olives served at Subway restaurants
Jan. 2010 E. coli 260 Lettuce grown in France
Dec. 2009 Norovirus 16 Lettuce
Aug. 2009 SalmonellaTyphimurium 27 Lettuce
Aug. 2009 Salmonella spp 124 Romaine lettuce; Recalls issued by Tanimura & Antle, Inc. (lettuce), Muranaka Farm, Inc. (parsley), and Frontera Produce (cilantro)
Jul. 2009 SalmonellaTyphimurium 145 Shredded lettuce from Taylor Farms
May. 2009 Norovirus 10 Lettuce, onion, and tomato in chicken salad
Nov. 2008 E. coli O157:H7 130 Romaine lettuce
Oct. 2008 E. coli O157:H7 2 Chopped shredded iceberg lettuce (Michigan)
Oct. 2008 E. coli O157:H7 43 (Johnathan’s Family Restaurant), 21 (Little Red Rooster Restaurant), 12 (M.T. Bellies Restaurant) Lettuce
Oct. 2008 Norovirus 64 Tomato relish, lettuce-based salad
Aug.-Sep. 2008 E. coli O157:H7 74 Lettuce  from Aunt Mid’s Produce Company (California)
Aug.-Oct. 2008 E. coli O157:H7 13 Spinach (Oregon)
May. 2008 E. coli O157:H7 10 Prepackaged lettuce
May. 2008 E. coli O157:H7 6 Pre-packaged salad
May 2008 E. coli O157:H7 9 Lettuce (California, U.S.)
Apr. 2008 Salmonella Branderup 12 Green salad, tomato
Jul. 2007 Shigella sonnei 72 Salad
Jul. 2007 E. coli O157:H7 26 Lettuce
Feb. 2007 Norovirus 8 Lettuce
Jan. 2007 Norovirus 9 Salad
Nov. 2006 E. coli O157:H7 78 Lettuce
Oct. 2006 E. coli O157:H7 205 Pre-packaged baby spinach from Dole Food Company (California)
Sep. 2006 Norovirus 9 Salad
Sep. 2005 E. coli O157:H7 34 Prepackaged bagged lettuce from Dole Food Company
Jun. 2006 SalmonellaTyphimurium 18 Lettuce, tomatoes
Oct. 2005 E. coli O157:H7 12 grapes, green; lettuce, prepackaged
Nov. 2004 E. coli O157:H7 6 Lettuce, unspecified
Jul. 2004 Salmonella Newport 97 Iceberg lettuce
Nov. 2003 E. coli O157:H7 19 Spinach, unspecified
Oct. 2003 E. coli O157:H7 16 Spinach, unspecified
Sep. 2003 E. coli O157:H7 51 Lettuce-based salads, unspecified
Nov. 2002 E. coli O157:H7 60 Romaine lettuce
Jul. 2002 E. coli O157:H7 32 Romaine lettuce from Spokane Produce (Washington)
Jul. 2002 E. coli O157:H7 55 Caesar salad
Nov. 2001 E. coli O157:H7 20 Lettuce-based salads, unspecified
Oct. 2000 E. coli O157:H7 6 Salad
May 2000 Campylobacter jejuni 13 Salad
May 2000 Norovirus 3 Salad
Feb. 2000 Norovirus 7 Salad
Oct. 1999 E. coli O157:H7 45 Lettuce, salad
Oct. 1999 E. coli O157:H7 47 Salad
Oct. 1999 Norovirus 16 Salad
Sep. 1999 E. coli O157:H11 6 Lettuce
Sep. 1999 Norovirus 115 Lettuce
Sep. 1999 E. coli O111:H8 58 Salad
Aug. 1999 Norovirus 25 Salad
May 1999 Norovirus 28 Salad
Feb. 1999 E. coli O157:H7 72 Lettuce
May 1998 E. coli O157:H7 2 Salad
May 1996 E. coli O157:H7 61 Lettuce
Oct. 1995 E. coli O153:H46 11 Lettuce
Sep. 1995 E. coli O153:H47 30 Lettuce
Sep. 1995 E. coli O157:H7 21 Lettuce
Jul. 1995 E. coli O153:H48 74 Lettuce

Meat and poultry products continue to be the top sources of foodborne illness outbreaks in the United States.

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