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If You Have This in Your Fridge, Get Rid of It Right Now

Multiple products are have been found to be potentially contaminated with E. coli, authorities warn.

A balanced diet full of fresh vegetables is important for maintaining a healthy body and immune system at all times, but especially in the current pandemic. However, romaine lettuce has become one vegetable we need to be extra careful of lately, as numerous reports of E. coli contamination have emerged in 2020. In fact, four recalls have been issued in relation to various lettuce products just this month, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Read on for the lettuces that could be making you and your family sick, and need to be disposed of, and for more items in your kitchen that could be dangerous, check out If You Have This Common Ingredient in Your Pantry, Throw It Away Now.

Dole Organic Romaine Hearts

Dole organic romaine hearts
Dole / FDA

Dole had to warn consumers about two products, the first being their Dole Organic Romaine Hearts, which come three in a bag. A specific strain of E. coli—pathogenic non-O157 E.coli STEC—showed up in a routine sample at a retail store by the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.

The romaine, along with Dole's other recalled lettuce you'll read about next, was distributed in Arizona, Hawaii, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, Montana, North Carolina, North Dakota, and Virginia.

"There is no indication at this time that this positive result is related to any illnesses nor consumer complaints," the FDA says in their report of the recalled lettuce, which is marked with the UPC 0-71430-90061-1 and harvested-on dates of Oct. 23 and Oct. 26. And for another food recall that should be on your radar, check out If You Have This Milk in Your Fridge, You Should Get Rid of It Now.

Wild Harvest Organic Romaine Hearts

wild orchart organic romaine hearts
Dole /FDA

The other Dole lettuce recall is among the 12 oz. bags of Wild Harvest Organic Romaine Hearts with the UPC 7-11535-50201-2 and harvested-on dates of Oct. 23 and Oct. 26. If you're looking at your bag, the UPC code is on the bottom right back corner and the harvested-on sticker is on the upper right front corner.

While both Dole lettuces are unlikely to still be on the shelves of grocery stores at this point, you should check your refrigerator. If you find any of the affected batches, the FDA warns that you "should not consume it, but rather discard it." And for more regular updates on all things retail and your safety, sign up for our daily newsletter.

Fresh Express Kit Caesar Supreme Salad Kits

Fresh Express Salad kit, Caesar Supreme, bag, which has been recalled
Fresh Express / FDA

Fresh Express had to issue a similar recall notice after a different strain of E. coli—STEC 026showed up in their Fresh Express Kit Caesar Supreme salad kits. While the FDA's alert stressed that no illnesses have been reported, and the expired use-by date of Nov. 8 would make them unlikely to be available for purchase now, they may still be in consumers' homes. "The recall is being executed out of an abundance of caution," the FDA states.

The E. coli showed up during testing of a randomly selected pack of the salad kit. The warning applies to the 10.5 oz kit with product code S296 and UPC 0-7127930104-4. The salad was distributed across 16 states: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, North Dakota, New Mexico, Nevada, Oregon, Texas, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming. And for another recall to know about, check out This Common Household Item Has Been Recalled Over Fire Risk.

Tanimura & Antle Romaine Lettuce

Tanimura romaine lettuce from Walmart, which has been recalled FDA
Tanimura & Antle / FDA

On Nov. 6, the FDA posted a voluntary recall notice from Tanimura & Antle on their bagged single head romaine lettuce. E. coli was discovered among the product during tests in the state of Michigan, and traced to a Walmart in Comstock.

The truth is E. coli is a mostly harmless bacteria that lives naturally in our intestines to keep our guts healthy. However, the strain of E. coli found in the Tanimura & Antle lettuce was 0157:H7, one of the most likely strains of the bacteria to produce haemolytic uremic syndrome or HUS, a kind of kidney failure that can make the bacteria fatal.

According to the Center for Diseases Control and Prevention (CDC), 5 to 10 percent of patients with this strain of E. coli go on to develop HUS. The tell-tale symptoms are a decreased frequency of urination, extreme lethargy, and a loss of color in the cheeks and lower eyelids. Children under the age of five, adults over 65, and anyone with a compromised immune system are more likely to develop this kind of serious illness. The FDA advises, "If consumers are experiencing any of the above symptoms, please contact your physician."

Walmart posted a list of all stores that sold the Tanimua & Angle lettuce, spanning 19 states and Puerto Rico. It is believed that the recall applies to 3,396 packs of lettuce, packaged on Oct. 15 or Oct. 16. The UPC on the affected bags of lettuce is 0-27918-20314-9. And if you're getting cozy as the temperatures drop, beware that If You Bought This From Amazon, You Should Stop Using It Immediately.

John Quinn
John Quinn is a London-based writer and editor who specializes in lifestyle topics. Read more
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