CT restaurants guard against romaine lettuce recall and E. coli concerns

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) - Concern about a nationwide E. coli outbreak has now reached 16 states, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

At least 53 people have been sickened by tainted, chopped romaine lettuce.

It's prompted the CDC to send out warnings to restaurants to not buy romaine lettuce from the Yuma, Arizona area -- where the outbreak started.

Restaurant owners and managers here in Connecticut are paying close attention to the warnings.

"I think it's really frightening for people," said Claire Criscuolo, who owns Claire's Cornacopia in New Haven across from The Green. "So, we have to be vigilant and make sure that we are as safe as we can be."

Criscuolo says as soon as the news broke about the outbreak, she called her lettuce supplier to make sure what she's serving was safe.

It is. None of the romaine she serves comes from the Yuma, Arizona area.

Related Content: More illnesses reported in E. coli outbreak linked to romaine lettuce

Managers at the Good Nature Market in New Haven did the same thing. They were concerned because romaine lettuce means a lot of green to them in terms of business.

"We sell a lot of romaines and salads," said Tae Park, a manager at the Good Nature Market. But, to him, the concern isn't just about the bottom line.

"We're concerned about people and people's health," he said.

The lettuce there is safe, too. Park showed us the labels on his packaged romaine. It comes from California -- not Yuma, Arizona. 

Both Good Nature Market and Claire's Cornacopia are following the CDC guidelines and recommendations during this outbreak. The CDC is recommending that restaurants not sell romaine lettuce from the Yuma, Arizona region.

The CDC also has recommendations for you to protect yourself and your family. When you go out to eat, ask if the restaurant's lettuce comes from Yuma, Arizona. If it does or if no one can tell you where it came from, don't eat it.

Related Content: Experts recommend avoiding romaine lettuce following E. coli outbreak

The CDC also says when you're at the grocery store, check the labels to see where that package came from. And if you have store-bought chopped romaine lettuce at home, including salads and salad mixes containing chopped romaine lettuce, throw it out. Your vigilance can go a long way towards keeping you and your loved ones safe.

People who got sick in the E. Coli outbreak across the country are as young as ten and as old as 85. The CDC says 70 percent of them are female. More than 30 people had to go to the hospital, and five people developed kidney failure. 

The good news is that the outbreak has not caused any deaths as of the filing of this report. 

The first case was reported about a month ago.

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