STOCKTON – Concerns over E. coli continues to grow after an outbreak linked to romaine lettuce grown in Arizona spreads across 19 states now including right here at home.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports the bacteria has made nearly 90 people sick so far.
Health officials say restaurants and grocery stores are responsible for the food they sell. Some are posting signs about the E. coli outbreak; others are doing everything possible to assure everyone’s safety.
The CDC reports 42 people out of the nearly 90 cases so far have been hospitalized from E. coli.
“It’s scary to go anywhere,” said Shawana Buckley, who lives in Stockton.
The outbreak has reached states like Pennsylvania, Idaho and California which have all been linked to romaine lettuce grown in Arizona.
“We are concerned and you know we are right here trying to keep everybody safe,” said Yolanda Salcedo of Nena’s Mexican Restaurant.
Health officials say California is one of the states hit the hardest with 13 cases of the bacteria being investigated. Restaurants in Stockton are stepping up efforts to keep people from getting sick.
“On our end, we are really trying to keep our food, put a little vinegar in water, soaking our vegetables and cleaning them really good,” she said.
The California Leafy Green Handling Marketing Agreement is a group making sure leafy greens are farmed safely. It wants to make sure consumers can eat with confidence.
“We are on the farm every day, doing inspections with government inspectors to make sure that people are following the safety practices,” said CEO Scott Horsfall.
Health officials say E. coli can cause diarrhea, severe stomach cramps and vomiting. They are working to figure out exactly what happened so they can learn from that mistake.
“The next step would be to work together, again this is in Arizona, with our Arizona counterparts, other trade associations, regulatory agencies to try and try to find the root cause and decide if there is something that can be done to ensure this doesn’t happen again,” he said.
Health officials say there have been no reported deaths so far from this E. coli outbreak.