BALTIMORE (WJZ)– Fears over an E. coli outbreak connected to romaine lettuce is causing some local restaurants to make some changes to their menu.
So far, there have been no official reported cases of E. coli sicknesses in Maryland, but there have been some just over the state line. That’s too close for comfort for some restaurant owners.
There’s plenty to order off the menu at Points South Latin Kitchen in Fells Point; unless you’re craving a Caesar salad.
Owner Bryson Keens decided to pull all dishes that include romaine lettuce out of an abundance of caution as cases of E. coli-contaminated lettuce spread.
“Just not worth, just simply not worth getting anyone sick,” Keens said. “We have disappointed a couple of people that we’ve taken it off the menu, but when the CDC says there’s an outbreak, why take the risk?”
The Center for Disease Control reported more than 50 cases of people getting sick from the strain of E. Coli linked to romaine lettuce.
There have been several cases in states right around Maryland. A Pennsylvania teen ended up in the hospital after eating tainted romaine.
“All the doctors came in and it was kinda like a big surprise, like it’s E. coli!” the teen said.
Sinai Hospital doctor, Lisa Kirkland, says an E. coli infection is not unlike a stomach bug, but complications can occur.
“You can run the gamut from just simply dehydration to kidney failure,” Kirkland added. “You don’t want to play Russian roulette with your health.”
Though the government says the problem lettuce comes from Yuma, Arizona, it remains unclear who grew, supplied or distributed it.
The CDC said if you can’t figure out the source of your romaine, don’t buy it or eat it, and to throw it away.
A Giant Food in Baltimore posted a sign assuring customers that their lettuce is bacteria free and not from the affected area.
“I did say to my spouse that hopefully we’ll both be okay after dinner and–we were the next day,” Baltimore resident Jane Seibert said.
Some local farmers are encouraging the public to grow their own.
“Knowing where your food is coming from is very important,” Chelsea Tucker of Baltimore told WJZ.
Keens recommends finding out where restaurants’ lettuce came from when dining out.
“Do your own research, do your own homework if you feel comfortable with that,” he said.
Out of the more than 50 people sickened–31 of them have been hospitalize.