Wendy’s Cuts Out Lettuce in Three States After Illnesses

Aug. 26, 2022
Wendy’s Co. has stopped serving lettuce with its sandwiches in three states after an outbreak of E. coli contamination that sickened at least 37 people.

Wendy’s Co. has stopped serving lettuce with its sandwiches in three states after an outbreak of E. coli contamination that sickened at least 37 people.

Illness in Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania have been tied to a romaine-iceberg hybrid that is unique to Wendy’s, and that the fast-food chain uses only on sandwiches, not salads. The illnesses, which are almost certainly underreported, have included severe pain, bloody diarrhea and bloating.

Federal authorities have not yet recommended that consumers avoid Wendy’s. However, the quick-service chain announced this week that will temporarily not offer lettuce on sandwiches as a voluntary measure.

The lettuce implicated in the outbreak, unique to Wendy’s, comes from a single supplier, according to Darin Detwiler, a food regulatory policy professor at Northeastern University quoted by CNBC. That supplier was not identified in the CNBC article, but Detweiler noted that in the fall, a major focus of lettuce production is Arizona’s Yuma Valley – an area that was implicated in a 2018 E. coli outbreak that killed five people.

Detweiler has a tragic personal connection to food poisoning. His son died in 1993 at 16 months from an E. coli infection received from another child at day care who had eaten at Jack in the Box.

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