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Romaine lettuce recall impacts Milwaukee restaurants, residents

Milwaukee restaurants and grocery stores are seeing the impact from the E.coli outbreak connected to romaine lettuce that has now been recalled. 

Riverwest Filling Station had to throw out a new shipment of romaine lettuce. Chef and Co-Owner Bryan Atinsky got a text and phone call from their food distributor saying the lettuce was recalled.

“As soon as I heard, I was like 'Oh no, it's almost weekend, and I don't want it around so I just tossed the whole thing,” Atinsky said.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is warning consumers to avoid all types of romaine lettuce from the Yuma, Arizona growing region due to a growing E. coli outbreak that has sickened people in 16 states. The warning now includes whole heads and hearts of romaine lettuce, as well as chopped romaine and salads and salad mixes containing romaine.

Milwaukee shoppers are also impacted by the recall. Lakala Davis said her family wasted a lot of money on lettuce they cannot eat.

“We go and spend money and then have to throw it away. It's an inconvenience, it really is,” Davis said.

The recalled lettuce can cost you your health too. Symptoms of E. coli infection include diarrhea, which can be bloody, severe stomach cramps and vomiting. E. coli infections typically clear up within a week. There haven’t been any confirmed cases in Wisconsin, but one Milwaukee resident said she got sick after eating the lettuce. After she learned of the recall, she said it explained why she felt ill. 

“We were trying to figure out what food could have caused it, but we did suffer for three for days,” Hima said.

She believes stores should take more steps to inform their customers.

"I mean we can fall sick and we have fallen sick because of that," Hima said. 

At Metro Market at Shorewood, their lettuce is from California, an area that hasn’t been impacted by the outbreak so the lettuce is safe. However, as more shoppers are concerned about the type of lettuce they buy, they put up signs in the produce section to ease worries.

Health officials say if you can't confirm where the lettuce came from, or that it’s romaine, don't eat it.

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