Wendy’s new menu item: E. coli



A recent multi-state E. coli outbreak connects back to Wendy’s lettuce used in the company’s sandwiches. Individuals with E. coli symptoms remain encouraged to report any concerns to a health department to reduce the spread of the disease. Until health officials determine the cause, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention encourages customers to continue eating at Wendy’s, until the release of further information on the investigation.

Giovanna Talone, Sports editor

An investigation opens up regarding an Escherichia coli (E. coli) outbreak appearing to link back to Wendy’s lettuce, affecting 97 people across six states. Out of the  43 hospitalized, 10 patients developed Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome (HUS). The states with confirmed cases include Pennsylvania, Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana and New York. HUS symptoms feel similar to those of E. Coli, but cause blood vessels to clot in the kidneys, ultimately resulting in kidney failure. Of the 97 cases, 81% link back to Wendy’s, leaving several patients to blame the company. The state of Michigan contains the majority of the confirmed cases.

E. coli commonly surfaces in the United States, with over 30 outbreaks in the past decade. Although no official statement from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) holds Wendy’s responsible for the outbreak, several cases report Wendy’s as a recent meal. Customers potentially suffering from E. coli share their experiences on the internet, while others file lawsuits. In several areas with reported cases, Wendy’s stores temporarily removed romaine from the menu. 

“We are fully cooperating with public health authorities on their ongoing investigation of the targeted E. coli outbreak reported in certain states. While the CDC has not yet confirmed a specific food as the source of that outbreak, we have taken the precaution of removing the sandwich lettuce at some restaurants. The lettuce that we use in our salads is different and is not affected by this action. As a company, we are committed to upholding our high standards of food safety and quality,” Wendy’s official said

E. coli symptoms consist of diarrhea, fevers over 102 degrees and headaches due to dehydration and vomiting. If feeling symptoms, the CDC encourages individuals to track and report them to health departments to help medical professionals solve the outbreak and reduce the spread of the disease.

“I personally love Wendy’s and no matter what disease they have, I’ll still eat their food. I love the Baconator fries so I won’t have to worry about getting E. coli since it’s lettuce free. For people’s Wendy’s orders that have lettuce, I wouldn’t recommend ordering your food with it, just to take that extra precaution,” junior Alex James said.

The CDC continues to investigate the issue and try to prevent the spread of E. coli throughout the US. With no deaths reported thus far, those affected remain monitored to help find the source of the disease.