By Jennifer Mayerle

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The multi-state E. coli outbreak has made its way to Minnesota.

Ten people in the state have gotten sick from eating romaine lettuce. The Minnesota Department of Health reports three people needed to be treated at the hospital.

Businesses are reassuring customers about their lettuce.

It’s safe to say Dave’s Downtown is a staple in the skyway. The salad bar is a popular place.

“So here is our cooler. Our walk-in cooler here we have two shipments left for the day and we get shipments every day,” said Dave Barnier, owner of Dave’s Downtown.

Early on, he pulled romaine lettuce from the menu. Barnier added it back once suppliers assured him his shipments are not part of the E. coli outbreak.

“California grown, look at that,” Barnier showed the stamp on romaine lettuce.

Amy Saupe, an epidemiologist with Minnesota Department of Health, says the romaine to watch for is from the Yuma growing region of Arizona.

“The Minnesota cases have the same strain of E. coli of O157. We kind of do a DNA fingerprinting and they are the same as the national cases that have been linked to romaine lettuce,” Saupe said.

Nine of the 10 sick across the state are women. The ages range from 15 to 71. They ate romaine at all different places, a residential facility, a restaurant and at home.

While the lead MDH investigator believes businesses have pulled any contaminated lettuce, people could still consume it.

“What we’re currently concerned about is people might still have this product in their home, in their refrigerators particularly so we’re just asking people to check their refrigerator for romaine lettuce and they should confirm it’s not from the Yuma Growing region,” Saupe said.

Dave’s has added a sign to let customers know their romaine is safe to eat. For him, trust is paramount.

“They know what they want and they want freshness and they know that we process ours every day. We cut it, we wash it, and it’s that trust thing that just is so important,” Barnier said.

Saupe said if you can’t determine where the romaine you have at home came from, when in doubt, throw it out. Some grocery stores like Lund’s & Byerly’s will have a sign that says where the lettuce is from.

Here’s more information about E. coli O157 and how to prevent it from MDH and Centers for Disease Control.


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