Local News


Las Vegas restaurants, produce growers toss romaine lettuce after nationwide E. coli threat

Posted at 11:16 PM, Nov 20, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-21 12:26:39-05

There is an urgent warning from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention after several people in at least 11 states have been sickened by suspected E. coli after eating romaine lettuce.

Thirty-two people, including 13 who have been hospitalized, have been infected with the outbreak strain in 11 states, according to the CDC. One of the hospitalized people developed hemolytic uremic syndrome, a potentially life-threatening form of kidney failure. No deaths have been reported.

The Public Health Agency of Canada has identified an additional 18 people who have become sick with the same strain of of E. coli in Ontario and Quebec.

Inside Table 34 near Warm Springs and 215, romaine lettuce is indefinitely off the menu.

"It is an inconvenience because Caesar salad is one of our top selling salads and I had about two cases on hand and we threw that in the dumpster," said Executive Chef and Table 34 owner Wes Kendrick.

Kendrick took action as soon as he heard the urgent warning from health officials.

"I first went into the dining room to see if any guests were enjoying a Caesar salad and I informed I just heard of a recall and we replaced it and rebuilt salads using different greens," said Kendrick.

 According to the CDC, unlike previous e-coli scares and outbreaks, there is no common grower or source that has been identified.

"Controlled environmental agriculture is all about food safety," said Jim Pantaleo, Vice-President of strategic business development at Oasis Biotech.

At Oasis Biotech, a vertically integrated produce grower, their indoor, closed system, eliminates the possibility of e-coli contamination through animal feces or other sources.

Pantaleo says the company is still taking the E. coli warning seriously.

"We are adhering to the mandate, we are not growing romaine lettuce here," said Pantaleo.