CDC: don't eat romaine lettuce

If you're planning on taking a salad to your Thanksgiving potluck this year, be wicked careful of what you throw into it: The Centers for Disease Control is currently warning everyone, frigging everywhere to avoid romaine lettuce as if eating it could dose you with E Coli... because there's a pretty decent chance that it will. According to the CDC's Twitter feed for the time being we none of us should be eating "...any romaine lettuce, including whole heads and hearts, chopped, organic and salad mixes with romaine" until they figure out what the source of E Coli is and how much of the romaine supply chain has been contaminated by it. For the complete lowdown on what the CDC knows so far, you'll want to check out their E coli alert page.

For those unfamiliar with it, E coli (Escherichia coli,) bacteria can be found in the guts of healthy folks and many animals. It's fine, for the most part! Some strains of the bug, however, are not so fine. Should one of these strains of E coli get into our systems, typically via the ingestion of contaminated water or food, those stricken by the bug can suffer symptoms ranging fa quick bout of the trots to serious issues with symptoms including severe abdominal cramps, bloody diarrhea and vomiting.

So, maybe serve up a kale, iceberg or coleslaw salad this year, instead. It'll give everyone gathered around your table one more reason to be thankful.

Image via Wikipedia Commons Read the rest

Oorah! US Marine recruits sidelined by E. Coli

Attending boot camp with the United States Marine Corps is pretty much volunteering for a beatdown: the grueling 13-week training schedule challenges the spiritual, physical and psychological mettle of each recruit--and that's before taking the shitty sanitary conditions their chow is made in into account.

Last year, 29 Marine recruits were admitted to the hospital with a variety of ugly symptoms ranging from bloody diarrhea to stomach cramps and seizures. To solve the mystery of what was happening to the recruits, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention were called in. The verdict: E. coli.

From Task & Purpose:

In August 2018, attorneys for three former Marines filed lawsuits against food service company Sodexo that prepares meals for recruits at Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego, one of the two sites where enlistees enter the Corps’ 13-week boot camp. Court filings describe the tragic consequences faced by the recruits, all three of whom were ultimately discharged due to their medical conditions caused by the outbreak.

The lawsuits allege that Sodexo is responsible for the source of the E. Coli, and claims that food service staff served undercooked ground meat to the Marines. While the CDC report does not identify the source of the outbreak with 100% certainty, inspectors reported they observed unsafe meal preparation procedures, some of which violate FDA and California Department of Public Health standards.

The health issues caused by the presence of E. Coli were complicated even further, according to the CDC, by the fact that the washrooms used by the future Marines were often found lacking in soap, paper towels and toilet paper--sundries that the recruits are expected to restock themselves. Read the rest

Blue horseshoe crab blood sells for up to $14,000 per quart

Unfortunately for horseshoe crabs, their blue blood is so good at detecting harmful bacteria that the hapless critters are being scooped up by the hundreds to be attached to industrial horseshoe crab blood milking stations. Now the International Union for Conservation of Nature has categorized the American horseshoe crab is "vulnerable" to extinction.

From Popular Mechanics:

Their distinctive blue blood is used to detect dangerous Gram-negative bacteria such as E. coli in injectable drugs such as insulin, implantable medical devices such as knee replacements, and hospital instruments such as scalpels and IVs. Components of this crab blood have a unique and invaluable talent for finding infection, and that has driven up an insatiable demand. Every year the medical testing industry catches a half-million horseshoe crabs to sample their blood.

But that demand cannot climb forever. There's a growing concern among scientists that the biomedical industry's bleeding of these crabs may be endangering a creature that's been around since dinosaur days. There are currently no quotas on how many crabs one can bleed because biomedical laboratories drain only a third of the crab's blood, then put them back into the water, alive. But no one really knows what happens to the crabs once they're slipped back into the sea. Do they survive? Are they ever the same?

Read the rest

General Mills recalls some flours after 38 people become sick with E. coli

General Mills today announced it will voluntarily recall various batches of its Gold Medal, Gold Medal Wondra and Signature flours that federal officials say may be linked to 38 people getting sick in 20 states from a strain of E. coli. Read the rest