The Wendy’s Co. has removed romaine lettuce from its sandwiches at restaurants in Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania over a suspected E. coli food-borne illness outbreak, a federal health agency said.
The Dublin, Ohio-based burger brand was cooperating fully with the investigation, according to the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“A specific food has not yet been confirmed as the source of this outbreak, but many sick people reported eating sandwiches with romaine lettuce at Wendy’s restaurants in Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania before getting sick,” the CDC said.
“Based on this information, Wendy’s is taking the precautionary measure of removing the romaine lettuce being used in sandwiches from restaurants in that region,” the CDC said. “Wendy’s uses a different type of romaine lettuce for salads. 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, in a statement, said it was cooperating with public health authorities “in certain Midwestern states.”
“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, 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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