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America's Second-Largest Burger Chain Is Linked to a New E. Coli Outbreak

The CDC is investigating lettuce served in sandwiches as a likely source of illness.

As many as 37 people have now fallen ill in a new E. coli outbreak in the Midwest. One thing they all had in common? They had recently eaten at Wendy's.

According to Food Safety News, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is currently investigating the chain as the likely source of recent food poisoning cases reported in Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Indiana. Cases began cropping up between July 26 and August 8, with the majority of patients reporting they had eaten Wendy's sandwiches garnished with romaine lettuce in the week before symptoms first occurred.

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"Investigators are working to confirm whether romaine lettuce is the source of this outbreak, and whether romaine lettuce used in Wendy's sandwiches was served or sold at other businesses. Wendy's is fully cooperating with the investigation," the CDC reported.

While the chain hasn't been conclusively confirmed as the culprit of the E. coli outbreak, it is pulling the lettuce used in sandwiches from menus in the four states where the outbreak is active. However, the company noted it uses a different type of lettuce in its salads, which is why those items remain on the menu.

"While the CDC has not yet confirmed a specific food as the source of that outbreak, we are taking the precaution of removing the sandwich lettuce from restaurants in that region," the chain's statement said. "The lettuce that we use in our salads is different, and is not affected by this action. As a company, we are committed to upholding our high standards of food safety and quality."

Furthermore, the CDC stated on Friday that people do not need to steer clear of Wendy's or avoid eating romaine lettuce and there seems to be no evidence that the lettuce purchased in grocery stores or consumed at other restaurants is implicated in this outbreak.

The patients' ages range from 6 to 91, and ten have so far been hospitalized. Three of those patients in Michigan have suffered kidney failure. No deaths have been reported.

Mura Dominko
Mura is ETNT's Deputy News Editor, leading the coverage of America's favorite restaurant chains, grocery stores, and viral food moments. Read more about Mura
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