The New York City Department of Health said on Wednesday that it was alerting restaurants during regular inspections about the advisory and reaching out to industry trade groups to spread the word.
Gottlieb added that investigators have determined it is the same strain of E. coli as the 2017 outbreak, but that "This year, we're a month earlier, so we're earlier in the process, earlier in the throes of an outbreak".
"If you have purchased same in the market, discard it immediately or return the package to the grocery store for a full refund", the Ministry advised further.
On Tuesday night, November 20, out of concern for the health of employees and customers, Sobeys Inc. temporarily stopped the sale of all Romaine lettuce products across its national store network until further notice.
The blanket warning to nix all romaine until further notice is frustrating to hydroponic growers like Gotham Greens, which grows, harvests and packs a variety of lettuces, including romaine, in controlled greenhouses in NY and Chicago.
The warning does not apply to locally grown romaine lettuce.
USA authorities reported 32 cases of E. coli, 13 of which involved a person who was hospitalized. Those most at risk for developing complications are pregnant women, people with weakened immune systems, young children and seniors.
News of another E. coli outbreak tied to leafy greens is "really disappointing" when proper tracing of last year's contamination, with the identical DNA footprint, might have prevented it, Sorscher said. Typical symptoms include stomach cramps, diarrhea and vomiting. People usually get better within five to 10 days and there is no "real treatment" apart from staying hydrated.
"They can actually do more harm than good", said Bogoch.
The Centers for Disease Control is advising consumers, restaurants, and retailers not to eat, serve, or sell any romaine lettuce as it investigates an outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 infections linked to romaine.
A common source of E. coli illness is raw fruits and vegetables that have come in contact with feces from infected animals. Romaine also grows loosely, unlike iceberg lettuce, which has a more contained head, potentially increasing the likelihood of contamination, she said.