A public notice sent out today by the FDA announces a romaine lettuce recall three days after Tanimura & Antle initiated the action because of tests in Michigan that showed E. coli O157:H7 contamination.

The notice from the Food and Drug Administration, dated Nov. 6, reports that the California company is recalling certain whole heads of romaine. Tanimura & Antle officials said the implicated romaine was packed on Oct. 15 and 16 and therefore no longer available to consumers.

“The recall is being conducted in consultation with FDA, and is based on the test result of a random sample collected and analyzed by the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development as part of their routine sampling program,” the company officials said in the recall notice.

No confirmed illnesses have been associated with the recalled romaine, according to the company’s notice.

The company distributed 3,396 cartons of potentially affected product under the Tanimura & Antle brand. Potentially affected product was distributed in the following states: AK, OR, CA, TX, AR, OK, IN, NE, MO, TN, WI, NM, SC, WA, NC, OH, VA, MA, PR, and IL.

Additional information that retailers and consumers can use to determine whether they have any of the recalled romaine include the UCP number 0-27918-20314-9, and one of the two following Produce Traceability Initiative (PTI) numbers: 571280289SRS1 or 571280290SRS1.  

“We are asking that if any of the packaged single head romaine described above is in the possession of consumers, retailers or distributors, the product be disposed of and not consumed,” the company urged.

Consumers with questions or concerns may call the Tanimura & Antle consumer hotline at 877-827-7388.

About E. coli infections
Anyone who has eaten any of the recalled romaine lettuce and developed symptoms of E. coli infection should seek medical attention and tell their doctor about their possible exposure to the bacteria. Specific tests are required to diagnose the infections, which can mimic other illnesses.

The symptoms of E. coli infections vary for each person but often include severe stomach cramps and diarrhea, which is often bloody. Some patients may also have a fever. Most patients recover within five to seven days. Others can develop severe or life-threatening symptoms and complications, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

About 5 to 10 percent of those diagnosed with E. coli infections develop a potentially life-threatening kidney failure complication, known as a hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). Symptoms of HUS include fever, abdominal pain, feeling very tired, decreased frequency of urination, small unexplained bruises or bleeding, and pallor.

Many people with HUS recover within a few weeks, but some suffer permanent injuries or death. This condition can occur among people of any age but is most common in children younger than five years old because of their immature immune systems, older adults because of deteriorating immune systems, and people with compromised immune systems such as cancer patients.

People who experience HUS symptoms should immediately seek emergency medical care. People with HUS will likely be hospitalized because the condition can cause other serious and ongoing problems such as hypertension, chronic kidney disease, brain damage, and neurologic problems.

(To sign up for a free subscription to Food Safety News, click here.)