Locals React To Recent Nationwide E. Coli Outbreak

FORT SMITH (KFSM) -- Tasha Taylor has owned and operated Truckin’ Delicious over the last three years.

She and other local businesses have had to recently respond to a nationwide E.coli outbreak linked to romaine lettuce.

“As soon as I heard that, I switched it up and went and got some iceberg lettuce. Safety first,” said Taylor. She says two of her menu items typically call for romaine, but she’s modified the ingredients.

Recently, the CDC has expanded its warning to people over all types of romaine lettuce including heads, hearts, or chopped in a salad mix. This only applies to romaine lettuce from the Yuma, Arizona region.

As of now, 53 cases in 16 states have been reported. Currently, Arkansas and Oklahoma are not affected by these outbreaks, but that doesn’t mean we couldn’t be in the future. Missouri and Louisiana are the closest states to us impacted.

Side effects from an E.coli infection include bloody diarrhea, abdominal pain, vomiting, and sometimes death in severe cases.

It’s something that has made consumers in our area more cautious before they buy.

“About three weeks ago I did purchase some romaine lettuce. We did use it all. We had no ill effects from it, but, with what’s going on in the news, we haven’t purchased any lettuce since,” said Gary King of Greenwood.

Although Taylor hasn’t had to respond to a health crisis like this before, she says plans to use iceberg in her dishes until she gets the green light from health officials.

And that’s what the CDC advises businesses and consumers to do. They also encourage anyone in the U.S. who have store-bought romaine lettuce, to throw it out unless they know where the product came from, which is typically not easily accessible information on products’ packaging.

The CDC will provide updates as soon as it gets more information on the outbreak.