WASHINGTON — The CDC has given the OK to eat most Romaine lettuce -- except if was grown in a specific area -- following an outbreak of E.coli in 29 states.

The ban on all Romaine lettuce was eased after the CDC was able to trace the likely source of the outbreak to the Central Coastal growing area of northern and central California. No common grower, supplier, distributor, or brand of romaine lettuce has been identified.

The CDC advised that if it’s not known where lettuce was grown, it should not be eaten and should be thrown out. This includes all types or uses of romaine lettuce, such as whole heads of romaine, hearts of romaine, and bags and boxes of precut lettuce and salad mixes that contain romaine, including baby romaine, spring mix, and Caesar salad.

The CDC hasn’t yet identified a source for the contamination.

There were 43 cases of E. Coli reported in 29 states, including nine in New Jersey. Four cases were reported in Bergen County, and one case each in Mercer, Morris, Ocean, Sussex and Union counties, according to the New Jersey Department of Health.

The CDC advised that if you have symptoms of E. coli, write down what you ate in the week before you started to get sick, report your illness to the state or county health department and to talk to your healthcare provider.

E. coli, or Escherichia coli, is a bacteria that normally lives harmlessly in the intestines. Some types can cause illness through exposure to contaminated food or water, or contact with animals or other people. Symptoms include severe stomach cramps, often bloody diarrhea, and vomiting.

Symptoms develop usually within two to eight days of ingesting the germ.

E. coli can be prevented by thorough hand washing after using the bathroom or changing a diaper, before and after food preparation, and after contact with animals.

The CDC said the current outbreak is not related to one earlier this year. The first outbreak was traced to the Yuma, Arizona, where 90 percent of all the romaine lettuce grown in the United States between November and March.

Sign up for the WPG Talk Radio 104.1 Newsletter

Get South Jersey news and information e-mailed to you every week.