Step Away from the Romaine—CDC Recommends Ditching Romaine amid E. coli Outbreak

By: Devon O'Brien, Senior Food Editor

Romaine lettuce may make you sick. Learn more about the outbreak and how to stay safe, plus get 8 other greens to eat instead.

Updated November 20, 2018

The CDC is advising that no one eats romaine lettuce in any form—whole heads, romaine hearts, salad mix or precut—until they get to the bottom of a new E.coli outbreak tied to the green lettuce. 

If you were planning to serve romaine at Thanksgiving (luckily, it's not on most traditional menus) or had any in your house, you should throw it away. Restaurants are being advised not to sell or serve romaine either. 

In October, 32 people were infected with E.coli in 11 different states. 13 people needed to be hospitalized, but no deaths have been reported from this latest outbreak. Until the CDC has more information on a more specific grower, supplier or brand they are instructing consumers to avoid all romaine. 

Earlier this year Consumer Reports recommend we avoid the green in January due to potential food borne illness. Then, another unrelated E. coli outbreak had the FDA recommending consumers avoid any romaine lettuce grown in the Yuma, Arizona, area after the CDC reported 121 people in 25 states had become ill and one person died.

Related: The Ultimate Guide to Prevent Food Poisoning

Salad greens and raw vegetables are a common source of food illness because we don't cook them and heat kills many foodborne pathogens.

Don't let this latest romaine recall stomp out your all your salad-eating goals—here are eight leafy greens to eat instead.

Related: The One Formula You Need to Make an Incredible Healthy Salad

Green Leaf Lettuce

Pictured recipe: Mixed Green Salad with Pomegranate, Dates & Bacon

It might not be as crunchy as romaine, but it's the closest thing you've got right now. Plus, it's just as delicious and nutritious.

Cabbage

Pictured recipe: Red Cabbage Salad with Blue Cheese & Maple-Glazed Walnuts

If it's crunch you crave, reach for cabbage. It's even crunchier than romaine and is great in slaw, tossed in a mixed green salad, as a topper for tacos or even roasted in wedges.

Arugula

Pictured recipe: Grilled Chicken Taco Salad

This peppery green will take any salad up a notch. After trying it once, you may just make it a regular staple in your salad repertoire.

Spinach

Pictured recipe: Warm Pear & Spinach Salad with Maple-Bacon Vinaigrette

Spinach is much more tender than romaine, but also more versatile. Eat it fresh, cooked or even in a smoothie.

Escarole

Pictured recipe: Winter Salad with Halloumi "Croutons"

This typically cooked green mimics the texture of romaine nicely, though it is more bitter. Try it in a salad with roasted veggies to slightly wilt the leaves.

Baby Kale

Pictured recipe: Baby Kale Breakfast Salad with Quinoa & Strawberries

The young, early version of a superfood favorite is easier to eat in a salad than its mature counterpart.

Butter Lettuce

Pictured recipe: Spring Roll Salad

This ultra-tender lettuce is great in a salad or for making lettuce wraps.

Mixed Greens

Pictured recipe: Quinoa Chickpea Salad with Roasted Red Pepper Hummus Dressing

And, of course, you can never go wrong with an instant salad that has diverse flavors and textures from mixed greens.

If you'd rather just stay away from lettuce altogether, try one of these produce-packed salads for lettuce-haters.

Watch: How to Make an Incredible Healthy Salad