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Health officials urge people to avoid romaine lettuce amid E. coli outbreak

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NEW YORK— U.S. health officials are telling people to avoid eating romaine lettuce because of an E. coli outbreak that has sickened 32 people in 11 states.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says it’s working with officials in Canada, where people are also being warned to stay away from romaine lettuce. The strain identified is different than the one linked to romaine earlier this year, but it appears similar to one linked to leafy greens last year.

FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb says the agency doesn’t yet have enough information to request suppliers issue a recall. But he says suppliers can help by withdrawing romaine products until the contamination can be identified.

If you have any brand or type of romaine lettuce at home, you should throw it away, even if you ate some and did not get sick, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) cautioned. All brands of romaine lettuce are suspect because no common grower, supplier, distributor or brand has been identified by the CDC.

No deaths have been reported. The last illness was reported on Oct. 31. No cases have been reported in Indiana.

Most E. coli bacteria are not harmful, but some produce toxins that can cause severe illness.