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Lettuce review the memes prompted by the CDC’s dire romaine warning

Washington Post Food critic and writer Tim Carman explains why the E. coli bacteria made romaine lettuce unsafe to eat. (Video: Taylor Turner/The Washington Post)

By now, you may have heard the big news about romaine lettuce: It’s not safe to eat — again. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced in no uncertain terms Tuesday that no types of romaine lettuce should be trusted in the wake of yet another outbreak of E. coli infections.

Not whole heads of romaine. Not hearts of romaine. Not the shredded lettuce in your bagged “spring mix” salad.

Throw it all away, the CDC declared. And sanitize your refrigerator while you’re at it.

There was reason for such a severe warning: Contaminated lettuce has sickened at least 32 people in 11 states in this latest E. coli outbreak. While no one has died, one patient suffered a form of kidney failure, the CDC said.

Still, the dire food-safety alert caught some people off guard.

For a few, the timing of the warning was not ideal.

People set about disposing their romaine lettuce as advised. Everyone west of the Rockies began looking for a new Thanksgiving side dish, if this regional map is to be believed.

Earlier this year, another E. coli outbreak linked to contaminated romaine lettuce — the largest in more than a decade — killed five people and sickened more than 200 others in three dozen states, as The Washington Post’s Lena H. Sun reported. This fact was not lost on people.

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Mostly, though, people couldn’t wait to recycle their romaine lettuce jokes, puns and memes from the last recall. (There are only so many.)

Finally, a shout-out to all those who made a “ptomaine romaine” joke. Again, it’s technically a strain of E. coli that is sickening people but … we see you.

Read more:

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