Published: Sun, January 07, 2018
Health Care | By Alberto Manning

Romaine lettuce warning issued after E. coli outbreak

Romaine lettuce warning issued after E. coli outbreak

An E. coli outbreak linked to two deaths and dozens of illnesses in Canada and the United States continues to grow, with no clear answers on what's causing the life-threatening infections.

If your salads include hearty and vitamin-filled romaine lettuce - stop right now.

Five people have been hospitalized in the USA and one has died, according to the CDC. The organizations say the bacteria is "closely related genetically" to the Canadian strain that's been reported 41 times in five provinces.

Neither the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or Canadian health officials have said where the romaine lettuce was grown or processed. Infections in the USA have reportedly taken place in California, Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Vermont, and Washington state.

"Even though we can't say with 100 percent certainty that romaine lettuce is the cause of the E. coli outbreak in the USA, a greater degree of caution is appropriate [in this case] given that lettuce is nearly always consumed raw", James Rogers, director of Food Safety and Research at Consumer Reports, told Consumer Reports.

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Those most at risk are the young, the elderly and those with impaired immune systems. Morrison said until more is known about the source and cause of the contamination, it is best to avoid romaine lettuce.

State and local officials are interviewing people who became infected, the CDC says, to look for common threads in what they ate-including leafy greens and romaine lettuce-in the week before their illness started.

"People in these groups should be particularly vigilant about avoiding romaine lettuce", Rogers said.

Neither the US nor Canadian health officials have provided information on where the suspect romaine lettuce was grown or processed.

However, Consumer Reports advised that just to be safe, consumers should avoid romaine lettuce until the cause is identified.

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