What We Know About Wendy's Possible E. Coli Outbreak

Known for its classic fast food menu, Wendy's is a fairly popular option in the U.S. for those who need a quick, affordable bite to eat. Fans of the chain love the classic spicy chicken sandwich, Baconator burgers, and chocolate frosty (especially for dunking crispy fries), but Wendy's also offers more nutritious options on its menu, like apple slices and a few different salads. But if you frequent the chain often, you might want to exercise some caution when ordering for the time being.

According to the CDC, an outbreak of E. coli has led to 37 people getting sick and multiple people being hospitalized. The health organization said the potential culprit is the romaine lettuce found on Wendy's sandwiches, since many who got sick reported eating at the chain's restaurants in Michigan, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. The fast food chain has taken steps to remove this type of lettuce from its various locations in those areas.

The exact source of the illness is still being investigated

The CDC is still looking into where the contamination originated and ​​if romaine lettuce is actually the source or potentially something else. "We are fully cooperating with public health authorities on their ongoing investigation of the regional E. coli outbreak reported in certain Midwestern states," Wendy's said in a statement to the New York Times. "While the CDC has not yet confirmed a specific food as the source of that outbreak, we are taking the precaution of removing the sandwich lettuce from restaurants in that region."

The CDC said to call your healthcare provider right away if you experience diarrhea, a fever higher than 102 degrees Fahrenheit, or suffer from so much vomiting that you can't keep liquids down. The health organization also said to look for signs of dehydration like dry mouth and feeling dizzy when you stand up. If you have any of these symptoms, the CDC urges you to report your illness to a local or state health department, as the investigation into the cause is still ongoing and could help them pinpoint the exact source.

Back in 2018, following multiple E. coli outbreaks, AZ Central explained the reason romaine is more often linked to the bacteria than other types of lettuce is its shape, which offers some protection to the dangerous bacteria from environmental factors that would normally kill it.