Injured from E. Coli? Sick? Investigators Still Trying to Understand Source of Outbreak


OMAHA, Nebraska. According to the New York Times, the recent romaine lettuce E coli outbreak has been traced to a farm in Yuma, Arizona. The outbreak has affected people in at least 25 states, and killed one person in California. Alarmingly, investigators looking into the source of the E coli contamination have yet to identify the source of the illness.

Romaine lettuce displayed in farmers’ market for sale
Romaine lettuce displayed in farmers’ market for sale

Centers for Disease Control officials estimate that the outbreak is far from over.

When we buy food from the grocery store, we expect to purchase products that are safe. Unfortunately, according to recent reports, there are several areas in the supply chain that are vulnerable to contamination. The New York Times reports that there are federal laws in place to monitor outbreaks and to secure the supply chain, but these laws have been slow to be implemented and farmers have even challenged the laws. The Food Safety Modernization Act was passed after a lawsuit demanded its implementation. Yet, as it stands, many farms won’t start undergoing inspections this year.

It can be difficult to trace a person’s source of contamination. According to the Centers for Disease Control, people might not become sick right away after consuming products contaminated with E coli. It can take 2-8 days before people become sick and, on average, people become sick after 3 to 4 days. Most infections involve severe stomach cramps, vomiting, and bloody stool. While many people recover after a week, some cases can become life-threatening. In some extreme cases, people can experience kidney failure. Older people and young children are particularly at risk.

Leafy greens are particularly risky products when it comes to E coli infections because people consume the products raw and these products are not always tracked through the food system. While meat is inspected and tracked, leafy greens are not.

So, what can you do to protect yourself? Don’t consume romaine lettuce unless you can confirm that it is not from the affected region. Eat local, and wash your lettuce before consuming it.

If you do become ill, consider seeking medical attention as soon as possible. A doctor can best determine whether you are at risk of developing kidney complications and can monitor your condition for these worsening symptoms. Finally, if you’ve been hurt due to contaminated food, you may have certain rights under the law. Food preparers, hotels, and restaurants have a responsibility to maintain clean cooking conditions and to throw out potentially contaminated products. If you have become sick, consider reaching out to Rensch & Rensch Law, Omaha, Nebraska personal injury lawyers. Our firm understands that victims of food contamination may require long hospital stays, may have to miss time from work, and may face high medical bills, especially if their condition worsens. If you’ve been hurt, you may have rights. Visit us at to learn more. We may be able to help you seek damages from negligent parties to cover your medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering damages.


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