FORT MYERS, Fla., -- After the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention expanded their warning of an E. coli outbreak from romaine lettuce to all types of romaine, a local farmer says if your salad isn't fresh you have a higher chance of getting sick.
“Obviously the more something’s been handled the more chances it has of being contaminated," said Robert McMahon, owner of Southern Fresh Farms.
McMahon says he wants people to understand that fresh food from places like farmer's markets is the best and safest to keep from getting sick. He says the chances of bacteria getting into food increases by the time it gets to your local grocery story.
“Once one plant has been affected, once it goes through the processing, infected by being chopped by blades, well those infected are now hitting everything.”
The CDC says not to buy or eat romaine unless you can confirm it's not from Yuma, Arizona, where they've sourced the outbreak.
Officials say symptoms of this strain of E. coli include severe stomach cramps, vomiting, and diarrhea, which is often bloody. Anyone with these symptoms should see a health provider immediately.