Federal health officials warn you not to eat romaine lettuce if you do not know where it came from, such as the. The CDC recommendation now includes whole heads and hearts of romaine lettuce, along with shredded and bagged Roman and salad mixes containing Romain.
While the government believes the salad comes from the Yuma, Arizona region, it does not know exactly who cultivated, delivered or distributed the contaminated vegetables
. The CDC says it averages three to four days after contact With E. coli, people may start to feel symptoms.
"It was a scary process," said Mia Zlupko, a high school dancer who likes to eat healthy foods like salads. But after eating a Romaine salad at a local Pennsylvania store, she began vomiting and getting stomach problems.
She thought she had stomach problems. "It's quite difficult to sit in a hospital there and not know what's going on with you, you feel so drained," she told CBS News® Anna Werner.
After four days in the hospital, Zlupko said that doctors told her that she might be suffering from autoimmune disease. But just as she was going home, "all the doctors came in and it was kind of like a big surprise, like" It's E. coli. "
" We were all shocked, "said her mother, Tina.
At least 64 people in 16 states were infected with the same strain of E. coli associated with romaine lettuce, about half – 31 of They were hospitalized.
The CDC says most people develop symptoms such as diarrhea, severe stomach cramps and vomiting and recover within a week, but five people who had this outbreak suffered from a form of kidney failure "Hematolytic uremic syndrome (HUS)."
"As for me, there is an unusually high hospital admission rate," said Bill Marler, a food safety lawyer.
He represents Louise Fraser, who sued Panera Bread and claims that she contracted E. coli at one of her restaurants in New Jersey after eating romaine lettuce and was hospitalized for weeks, saying she had Nier was diagnosed, which required multiple blood transfusions. She is now suing both the restaurant and its supplier, Freshway Foods, Inc.
"The restaurant, the grocery, is responsible for whatever food they sell to you," Marler said. "If it's contaminated with a pathogen, it's broken, and the distribution chain that delivered it is ultimately responsible."
Panera Bread Officials said "CBS this morning" they "comment on non-pending lawsuits", but they said "have again been supplied with Romaine from other regions."
Freshway Foods Inc. has not responded to our request for comment.
Sandra Eskin, director of food safety at the Pew Charitable Trusts, says the researchers will try to bring the romaine lettuce back to the farm, where it could be contaminated by irrigation water, animals, fertilizers, or other pathways by bacteria. The romaine could also have been contaminated in a processing plant while it was cut, washed and packaged.
"It can be quite frustrating for consumers if they've heard since 2011 that new food safety standards be introduced," said Eskin.
She says that it is difficult to pinpoint the exact cause: "We know that the problem was E. coli contamination, where did she come from, how did she get on the salad? Once that's done, we can Find out if any of the regulations need to be changed. "
At the moment, the CDC tells consumers that if they can not confirm the source of romaine lettuce, not to buy it or eat it, and throw it away.
Consumer Reports advises people to avoid all romaine lettuce because "it's unrealistic to expect consumers to find out if their Romaine was produced in Arizona."
Doctors told Mia Zlupko to completely recover. Tina Zlupko says she is glad she was looking for answers to her daughter's illness. "If we had not gone to the doctor and then gone to the emergency room, she could have been a lot sicker," she said.
Producer industry groups say they are fully cooperating with the government to identify the source of the outbreak, and that the health and safety of their consumers is of paramount importance.
They say that the harvest and delivery of Romainen from the Yuma region, Arizona, have been stopped.