Local restaurants and stores respond to E. Coli reports

CDC says 84 people affected in 19 states so far

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. - E. Coli has now been reported in 19 states including California from romaine lettuce.

The Center for Disease Control says 84 people have gotten sick from E. Coli in those 19 states. In response local Bakersfield restaurants and grocery stores are being extra cautious to prevent that from happening in Kern County.

Gabriela Gonzalez is the owner of Toss It. She said she was nervous when she first heard about the reports, especially because she owns a salad restaurant.

Gonzalez said, "Romaine is like our main ingredient. So romaine and spring mix, so we have to make sure we're aware."
 
The CDC says California and Pennsylvania have been hit the hardest by romaine lettuce having E. Coli. But that's not stopping customers from ordering salad in Downtown Bakersfield.

Sophia Cummings ordered a salad and while eating it said, "I have a bachelorette party that I will be at in two weeks. And I want to look bathing suit ready." 

Chasity Goodson also ate a salad at Toss It and said, "I wasn't concerned about it. I think that this is a clean establishment. I'm sure they put a lot of effort, especially since it is a salad place they probably put forth an extra effort to make sure that it's been washed or that they changed their vendor or somewhere."

The CDC says typical symptoms of E. Coli include stomach cramps, diarrhea, often bloody, and vomiting. While most cases are mild and you get better in a couple days, the CDC says some case can be life-threatening.

And getting people sick is not something Gonzalez says she wants to do with her salads.

"It's the main ingredient, so we didn't stop carrying it. We always carry it. We just make sure that we bought locally and we properly wash it," said Gonzalez.
 
The CDC says romaine lettuce from Yuma, Arizona is suspected of causing the E. Coli. And that led Gonzalez to post a sign of where in California her lettuce is coming from for her customers to see.

"That makes them feel a little bit more comfortable, but some have completely stayed away from it. And they like jumped over to spring mix," said Gonzalez.

23 ABC has reached out to most of the major grocery store chains in Bakersfield. Here is how they've responded to the reports:

Albertson's: Waiting for corporate response.

CostCo: Waiting for corporate response.

FoodsCo: Still selling romaine lettuce. Store cleared shelves of possible effected lettuce, will give full refund. Still waiting for corporate response. 

FoodMaxx: Buys their romaine lettuce from California. Checked their shelves, didn’t have any from affected area.

Smart & Final: Checked their supply chain and made sure not to buy from any farms that have been linked to the outbreak of salmonella.

Target: Still selling romaine lettuce. Store cleared shelves of possible effected lettuce, will give full refunds. Still waiting for corporate response. 

Trader Joe's: Still waiting for corporate response.

Walmart: Couldn't get through to their corporate, store manager couldn't answer our questions.

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