caesar salad
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Do Not Eat Romaine Lettuce Until Further Notice

It could make you sick
caesar salad
istockphoto.com

Save your Caesar for another day. 

Now is just about the worst time to eat a Caesar salad. Officials are warning that romaine lettuce should be avoided at all costs — meaning you might have to resort to buying spinach or kale.

A dangerous outbreak of E. coli bacteria believed to have stemmed from romaine lettuce in Canada has now infiltrated the United States. In Canada, 58 have fallen ill after crunching a tainted leaf; in the United States, infections have been spotted in 13 states so far.

Even the healthiest immune systems are susceptible to the nasty infection, though children and the elderly are most at risk. This particular E. coli strain produces a toxin that can lead to serious illness, kidney failure, or even death.

While Canada is 100 percent sure the crispy lettuce is to blame, the exact source of the United States’ outbreak is yet to be confirmed.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are cautious to confirm the cause of these illnesses.

“Although some sick people reported eating romaine lettuce, preliminary data available at this time shows they were not more likely than healthy people to have eaten romaine,” CDC spokesperson Brittany Behm explained.

We’re not keen on taking bets, though. And even still, Consumer Reports, a nonprofit organization dedicated to consumer safety and awareness, tells American shoppers that they can’t be too careful.

“Consumer Reports’ food safety experts are advising that consumers stop eating romaine lettuce until the cause of the outbreak is identified and the offending product is removed from store shelves,” the organization’s website announced.

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If you’re not a lettuce lover, romaine might be your only palatable leafy green. Or maybe you have kids you can’t force to choke down anything that even remotely resembles spinach. But considering the five U.S. residents that have been hospitalized and the one person who died from the bacteria strain, we agree that it’s worth making the swap. To make dark, leafy greens a more exciting part of your dinner menu until romaine is safe for sure, you might want to try one of these spectacular spinach recipes.