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CDC warns restaurants to avoid lettuce from Yuma, Ariz., over E. coli concerns

The watchdog has traced an outbreak of E. coli cases to chopped romaine lettuce grown in that area.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has warned restaurants not to serve chopped romaine lettuce from Yuma, Ariz., after determining the produce could be the cause of an E. coli outbreak that has now spread to 11 states.

The CDC advises operators to check with their suppliers and distributors to confirm the source of the lettuce they use. The federal watchdog has not identified a particular brand of lettuce or a particular distributor that carries it.

The alert, issued late Friday afternoon, says that 35 people have now been sickened after coming into contact with a particular strain of E. coli O157:H7. Twenty-three have been hospitalized, including three with a form of kidney failure, one of the more serious effects of an E. coli contamination.

The CDC maintains that the contaminations occurred between March 22 and March 31. The states with reported cases now include New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Virginia, Illinois, Michigan, Missouri, Idaho and Washington.

Authorities have not said whether they are still investigating a Panera Bread restaurant in New Jersey as one of the potential sources of contamination.

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