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PA restaurants forced to pull romaine lettuce following E. coli outbreak

YORK COUNTY, Pa. --If you’re thinking about having a salad tonight for dinner, you may want to re-think your greens.

After an E. coli outbreak affecting 19 states as of Wednesday,  18 of those have been reported in Pennsylvania.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is expanding its warning, urging people to avoid all types of romaine lettuce coming from Yuma, Arizona.

“It typically causes more stomach pain, bloody diarrhea, vomiting associated with it, and often times can cause kidney damage as well," said Dr. Creston Tate, medical director at Wellspan.

While most E. coli bacteria is harmless, this particular strain, also known as  '0157', can cause a wide range of issues.

“The pain with this particular infection is much worse than your average stomach illness," said Tate.

That’s exactly why restaurants like Nittany Pizza in York Township have a protocol to ensure the safety of their customers.

“We wound up not getting a shipment at the end of last week like we normally would so basically we were out romaine lettuce," said Tom Drivas, owner of Nittany Pizza.

“We were able to substitute iceberg lettuce for some of the customers that you know, they still wanted to have say a chicken Caesar salad and we would put croutons and Caesar dressing and sort of make the best that we could," Drivas added.

For the Dairy Queen in Spring Garden Township, who also sells sandwiches, they, too had their own version of ‘spring cleaning’.

“We just pulled them all off the shelves right away threw everything away and then they said they would tell us what they would want us to do after that but safety was the first concern they didn’t want us selling anything that could be contaminated," said Sherrie Gentzlar.

Franchise owner, Sherrie Gentzlar says as soon as they heard about the outbreak, corporate had them jump right into action.

“Everything was thrown away so that we wouldn’t have any contamination," added Gentzlar.

“It’s better to throw it out, it’s not worth trying to wash it and take a chance with that," added Dr. Tate.

For more information on the E. Coli outbreak and how to keep your family safe, you can visit: cdc.gov