Two more states and 13 new cases of an E. coli outbreak with a suspected link to romaine used in Wendy’s sandwiches have been added to a federal agency’s investigation.
Kentucky and New York were added to the list of states with reported cases, expanding from Indiana, Ohio, Michigan and Pennsylvania, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said last week in an outbreak update.
Of those states, Michigan had the most reported cases with 58, followed by Ohio with 24, Indiana with 11, Pennsylvania with two and one each in Kentucky and New York. The CDC said 43 people had been hospitalized with the illness, up five from the week before.
The Dublin, Ohio-based Wendy’s Co. was cooperating fully with the investigation, the CDC said. The company had removed sandwich romaine from menu offerings in the region in mid-August when the E. coli was first suspected.
“While the CDC has not yet confirmed a specific food as the source of that outbreak, we are taking the precaution of discarding and replacing the sandwich lettuce at some restaurants in that region,” the company said in a statement, adding that the salad lettuce was source differently.
“The lettuce that we use in our salads is different, and is not affected by this action,” Wendy’s said. The company offered its Customer Care Center phone number of 1-888-624-8140 and its email of [email protected].
The CDC said it had no evidence to indicate that romaine lettuce sold in groceries, other restaurants or homes was linked to the outbreak.
Severe E. coli symptoms include diarrhea and a fever higher than 102 degrees, vomiting and dehydration.
For the second quarter ended July 3, Wendy’s net income was $48.2 million, or 22 cents a share, down from $65.7 million, or 29 cents a share, in the same period last year. Wendy’s revenues rose to $537.8 million from $493.3 million in the prior-year quarter.
Wendy's, founded in 1969, has about 7,000 restaurants worldwide.
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