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Wendy's Pulls Lettuce From Sandwiches Over Possible Link to E. Coli Outbreak
  • By Steven Reinberg and Robin Foster HealthDay Reporters
  • Posted August 22, 2022

Wendy's Pulls Lettuce From Sandwiches Over Possible Link to E. Coli Outbreak

Amid an E. coli outbreak that has sickened at least 37 people in four states, the Wendy's fast food chain has removed romaine lettuce from its sandwiches in Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania.

"A specific food has not yet been confirmed as the source of this outbreak, but many sick people reported eating sandwiches with romaine lettuce at Wendy's restaurants in Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania before getting sick," the U.S. Centers of Disease Control and Prevention said in a statement issued Friday on the outbreak.

"Based on this information, Wendy's is taking the precautionary measure of removing the romaine lettuce being used in sandwiches from restaurants in that region." the agency added. "Investigators are working to confirm whether romaine lettuce is the source of this outbreak, and whether romaine lettuce used in Wendy's sandwiches was served or sold at other businesses."

According to the CDC, a person in Indiana also fell ill from E. coli infection.

Romaine lettuce sold in grocery stores doesn't appear to be affected, the CDC said, and people can still eat at Wendy's and eat the romaine lettuce in the salads it sells.

Wendy's explained in a statement that the lettuce used in its salads is not the same as that used for its sandwiches.

"We are fully cooperating with public health authorities on their ongoing investigation of the regional E. coli outbreak reported in certain midwestern states," the company said. "While the CDC has not yet confirmed a specific food as the source of that outbreak, we are taking the precaution of discarding and replacing the sandwich lettuce at some restaurants in that region."

According to the CDC:

  • Since Aug. 17, eight more cases have been reported and Indiana and Pennsylvania have been added to the investigation.
  • In all, 37 people infected with the strain of E. coli O157 have been reported: Indiana (1), Michigan (15), Ohio (19), and Pennsylvania (2).
  • The illness has sent nine people to the hospital. Three in Michigan have a type of kidney failure called hemolytic uremic syndrome. No deaths have been reported.
  • Among 26 people interviewed, 86% reported eating at a Wendy's the week before they got sick.

What to Do:

  • Watch for symptoms of severe E. coli, which include diarrhea lasting more than three days or diarrhea accompanied by a fever higher than 102˚F, bloody diarrhea, vomiting and a lack of urination.
  • If you suffer from these symptoms, call your doctor immediately.
  • Keep track of what and where you ate in the week before you got sick and report it to your local or state health department.
  • Write down what you ate in the week before you got sick.
  • Report your illness to your local or state health department.
More information

For more on the outbreak, head to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

SOURCES: U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, news release, Aug. 19, 2022; Wendy's, statement, Aug. 19, 2022

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