Consumer Catch-up: Romaine lettuce scare over, Google ad muting, Ford Explorer investigation, Choosing coffee over investing

Friday, January 26, 2018 06:39PM
Michael Finney and 7 On Your Side have consumer stories you should know about for Thursday, Jan. 25, 2018.


SAN FRANCISCO - Romaine lettuce scare over

After nearly two months of investigation, the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say the recent E. coli outbreak, linked to leafy greens, appears to be over.

The CDC says people likely got sick from eating leafy greens, but did not advise anyone to avoid romaine or any other green. During the outbreak, at least least 66 people across the U.S and Canada became ill, 22 were hospitalized, and 2 died.

At the time, Consumer Reports warned consumers to stay away from romaine lettuce - which officials in Canada blamed for its recent E. coli outbreak.

There have been no new cases over the past few weeks. The Canadian government declared its outbreak over earlier this month, and the CDC and FDA have now followed suit.

Consumer Reports Food Safety Expert Jim Rogers said, "Consumer Reports is no longer recommending to consumers to avoid romaine lettuce." Consumer Reports said it will continue to monitor the investigation.

Google will allow users to mute ads

Google wants to make a little less creepy to browse the web. Today, the tech company announced it will allow users to "mute" reminder ads.

Reminder ads are those that just seem to keep following you around, long after you have viewed an item online and since left that site.

There is a catch to the "Mute This Ad" feature. It is only available in apps and on websites that partner with Google.

Google said it plans to roll out the option to YouTube, Google Search, and Gmail in the coming months.

Nonprofit calls for Ford Explorer recall

Nonprofit group The Center for Auto Safety is asking Ford to recall 1.3 million Ford Explorers for carbon monoxide leaks.

The group sent a letter to Ford CEO Jim Hackett, raising concerns about the safety of the vehicles. It is a followup to a similar request from Oct. 2017.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has been investigating complaints since July 2016. Hundreds of people claimed to have headaches and nausea after riding in the vehicles.

In July of last year, the NHTSA furthered its investigation with an Engineering Analysis probe.

The NHTSA is looking into reports of crashes and injuries allegedly stemming from the vehicles, including the Police Interceptor model. So far, the department has not found any evidence that the crashes were caused by carbon monoxide poisoning. However, investigators said "CO levels may be elevated in certain driving scenarios." The significance of that is still under investigation.

For its part, Ford has claimed it has not found any evidence of carbon monoxide in testing. Elizabeth Weingandt, safety communications manager, told USA Today, "Explorers are safe. Ford's investigation and extensive testing has not found carbon monoxide levels that exceed what people are exposed to every day."

Choosing coffee over investing

That daily cup of joe seems more important to some Americans than saving for retirement.

A new survey from investing app Acorns found 34% of Americans spent more on coffee in the past year than on savings.

In the company's 2017 Money Matters Report, survey respondents said they spent an average of $1,100 a year on coffee.

37% said they spent more on vacations than on savings - an average of $1,145 a year.

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