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The CDC also recommends that if consumers have already purchased bagged or chopped lettuce, it should be thrown away immediately.

The agency has not identified a common grower, supplier, distributor or brand.

Confirmed and suspected cases have been identified in Missoula, Flathead, Lincoln and Ravalli counties and include 3 hospitalizations.

Dr. Wells says there is an E.coli outbreak in eleven states and chopped romaine lettuce is the cause.

The CDC on Friday advised consumers anywhere in the United States not to eat and throw away any store-bought chopped romaine lettuce at home, including salads and salad mixes containing chopped romaine lettuce.

Montana has experienced two E. Coli outbreaks in the past three years, according to Hinnenkamp.

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Many people prefer romaine to iceberg lettuce, because the romaine has a lot less water and usually lasts much longer in the fridge. Cases of illness showing E. coli symptoms have been reported in Connecticut, Idaho, Illinois, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Washington.

Information collected to date indicates that chopped romaine lettuce from the Yuma, Arizona growing region could be contaminated with E. coli O157:H7 and could make people sick.

This is not the first time romaine lettuce were linked to the spread of E. coli.

"Consumer Reports is making this recommendation given the potentially fatal consequences of E. coli, the fact that there are still several unknowns about this outbreak, and that no type of romaine has been ruled definitively safe by government officials", said James E. Rogers, director of food safety research and testing at Consumer Reports.

Colonies of E. coli bacteria grown on a Hektoen enteric (HE) agar plate are seen in a microscopic image courtesy of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC). While none of the cases reported have been linked to Fresh Food products, the company said its concerned that its romaine supplier may have been involved in the outbreak. More adverse cases would lead to bloody diarrhea, dehydration and even kidney failure.


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