Is it safe to eat romaine lettuce again? Lawsuit arise over E. coli outbreak

Posted at 6:04 PM, May 17, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-18 00:18:36-04

Health officials say it may be safe to start eating romaine lettuce again, after an E. coli outbreak.

Cases started popping up across the country back in March and was traced back to lettuce grown in Yuma.

RELATED: 149 sick in 29 states after E. coli outbreak

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the last shipments of the tainted lettuce were harvested on April 16. With harvest season over and the 21 day shelf-life of lettuce, it's unlikely there's any in stores or at restaurants.

Attorney William Marler, who specializes in food safety, is representing more than 80 victims from this outbreak, including a few in Arizona.

Marler thinks the outbreak isn't tied to just one Yuma farm.

"Given the fact that this outbreak has gone on for 7 weeks, it's to me more likely that more than just one farm was contaminated because that would account for so many people being sickened," said Marler.

Recently, two of his Arizona clients filed lawsuits against Red Lobster, claiming they contracted E. coli from tainted lettuce at a Peoria location.

Marler says to get out where the outbreak started he's working backward. Currently, he's suing the restaurants that have used the tainted products. From there, he hopes to learn who (what company) supplied the restaurants with the lettuce.

"We can then move upstream to processors and then link which processor sold romaine to which restaurants throughout the United States," said Marler.

Red Lobster released the following statement to ABC15:

"The health and safety of our guests is important to us, which is why we take food safety very seriously. Based on information from the CDC and out of an abundance of caution, Red Lobster took action to remove all Romaine lettuce from the Yuma, AZ growing region from our restaurants. Since this is an open legal matter, I can’t share any additional information at this time.”