CDC Issues Stern Order for Romaine Lettuce Recall
The CDC issued a recall alert for romaine lettuce, pictured above, from Salinas, Calif. eakkkk / iStock / Getty Images Plus
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has issued a stern order for any romaine in your fridge that comes from Salinas, Calif. Throw it out. If you don't know where it comes from, throw it out. If you have a salad mix that contains romaine, throw it out. If you're not sure, throw it out. Then scrub your fridge clean, according to a statement the CDC put out on Friday.
The CDC also offers a handy five-step guide for properly cleaning your refrigerator drawers and shelves where the salad was stored.
The reason is that pathogenic E.Coli sickened at least 40 people across 16 states by Friday. That included 28 hospitalizations, in which five people developed hemolytic uremic syndrome, a type of kidney failure, according to the CDC. Hemolytic uremic syndrome can be life-threatening especially in young children under 5 years, older adults and people with weakened immune systems, according to the agency, as The New York Times reported.
"We are concerned about the potential for contaminated lettuce on store shelves and in people's refrigerators," said Dr. Robert Tauxe, director of the CDC's Division of Foodborne, Waterborne and Environmental Diseases, in a statement sent to USA TODAY. "Heading into the Thanksgiving holiday, it is critically important to avoid buying or eating romaine lettuce from the Salinas growing area so you can protect yourself and your family."
The tainted lettuce spreads across several brands that are common in grocery stores around the country. The CDC has several tips for identifying any lettuce from Salinas. According to its statement, customers should look at the packaging and the sticker, which should say where the lettuce was grown. The CDC says if the packaging or the sticker does not say where the romaine is grown, then don't buy it.
"If romaine lettuce does not have labeling information for its growing area or the source cannot be confirmed, consumers should not eat or use the romaine," said Frank Yiannas, FDA's deputy commissioner for food policy and response, as CNN reported. "Restaurants and retailers should not serve or sell romaine lettuce if they cannot confirm it is from outside Salinas."
The CDC was not able to identify a single farm that was the source of the contamination, nor a supplier, distributor, or brand. The illnesses have sickened people ranging in age from 3 to 89 years old, with a median age of 22. The most cases were seen in Wisconsin, which had 10, as USA Today reported.
It also warned that a recall was issued for salad products from New Jersey based Missa Bay over E.Coli concerns. The recalled salad products had an Oct. 29 to Nov. 1 use by date on it and has establishment number "EST. 18502B" inside the USDA mark of inspection, according to the CDC statement.
"The products identified are already significantly past their use-by dates, so this voluntary recall most likely does not affect any product currently on store shelves," Ready Pac Foods said in a statement on Thursday, as The New York Times reported. "We are working with our retailers to help ensure that this is the case." Missa Bay produced the recalled lettuce for Ready Pac Foods, the company said, according to The New York Times.
Sweden's reindeer have a problem. In winter, they feed on lichens buried beneath the snow. But the climate crisis is making this difficult. Warmer temperatures mean moisture sometimes falls as rain instead of snow. When the air refreezes, a layer of ice forms between the reindeer and their meal, forcing them to wander further in search of ideal conditions. And sometimes, this means crossing busy roads.
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By Aaron W Hunter
A chance discovery of a beautifully preserved fossil in the desert landscape of Morocco has solved one of the great mysteries of biology and paleontology: how starfish evolved their arms.
The Pompeii of palaeontology. Aaron Hunter, Author provided<h2></h2><p>Although starfish might appear very robust animals, they are typically made up of lots of hard parts attached by ligaments and soft tissue which, upon death, quickly degrade. This means we rely on places like the Fezouata formations to provide snapshots of their evolution.</p><p>The starfish fossil record is patchy, especially at the critical time when many of these animal groups first appeared. Sorting out how each of the various types of ancient starfish relate to each other is like putting a puzzle together when many of the parts are missing.</p><h2>The Oldest Starfish</h2><p><em><a href="https://www.biorxiv.org/content/10.1101/216101v1.full.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Cantabrigiaster</a></em> is the most primitive starfish-like animal to be discovered in the fossil record. It was discovered in 2003, but it has taken over 17 years to work out its true significance.</p><p>What makes <em>Cantabrigiaster</em> unique is that it lacks almost all the characteristics we find in brittle stars and starfish.</p><p>Starfish and brittle stars belong to the family Asterozoa. Their ancestors, the Somasteroids were especially fragile - before <em>Cantabrigiaster</em> we only had a handful of specimens. The celebrated Moroccan paleontologist Mohamed <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.palaeo.2016.06.041" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Ben Moula</a> and his local team was instrumental in discovering <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0031018216302334?via%3Dihub" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">these amazing fossils</a> near the town of Zagora, in Morocco.</p><h2>The Breakthrough</h2><p>Our breakthrough moment came when I compared the arms of <em>Cantabrigiaster</em> with those of modern sea lilles, filter feeders with long feathery arms that tend to be attached to the sea floor by a stem or stalk.</p><p>The striking similarity between these modern filter feeders and the ancient starfish led our team from the University of Cambridge and Harvard University to create a new analysis. We applied a biological model to the features of all the current early Asterozoa fossils in existence, along with a sample of their closest relatives.</p>
Cantabrigiaster is the most primitive starfish-like animal to be discovered in the fossil record. Aaron Hunter, Author provided<p>Our results demonstrate <em>Cantabrigiaster</em> is the most primitive of all the Asterozoa, and most likely evolved from ancient animals called crinoids that lived 250 million years before dinosaurs. The five arms of starfish are a relic left over from these ancestors. In the case of <em>Cantabrigiaster</em>, and its starfish descendants, it evolved by flipping upside-down so its arms are face down on the sediment to feed.</p><p>Although we sampled a relatively small numbers of those ancestors, one of the unexpected outcomes was it provided an idea of how they could be related to each other. Paleontologists studying echinoderms are often lost in detail as all the different groups are so radically different from each other, so it is hard to tell which evolved first.</p>
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