Wednesday, 12 December, 2018

Romaine lettuce may be source of E. coli outbreak

Courtesy MGN Online Courtesy MGN Online
Johnnie Parks | 09 January, 2018, 14:59

The food-safety experts at Consumer Reports are advising consumers to avoid romaine all together and any products with romaine in them - such as salad blends and mixes - until the cause is found, identified and removed from store shelves. In the United States, the CDC has so far linked at least 17 reports of illness in 13 states to the outbreak. In Canada, one death has already been linked to the outbreak, while in the states, the Centers for Disease Control says five people have been hospitalized and one has died.

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. This is the same type of E. coli that is responsible for the current outbreak in the United States and Canada. Canada is investigating 41 cases in the provinces of Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Labrador.

The consumer advocacy group called on the FDA and the CDC, asking them to do more to let people know about this surge in E.coli infections. As such, this is also the primary suspect when trying to pinpoint the source of the USA case.

Whole genome sequencing was being performed on samples of bacteria making people sick in the United States to give information on whether these illnesses were related to the illnesses in Canada.

US officials have not yet issued recommendations to avoid any particular product because they are still collecting information on the outbreak.

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The outbreak could have been caused by another produce than the one which caused similar problems across the birder.

"Because we have not identified a source of the infections, CDC is unable to recommend whether USA residents should avoid a particular food", states the CDC.

If you're one of the many people hitting the refresh button on life with the coming of the New Year, resolving to exercise more, drink less, and eat better, you may have stocked your fridge with lots of fresh and healthy veggies for your own clean-eating plans - including romaine lettuce.

"CDC is still collecting information to determine whether there is a food item in common among sick people, including leafy greens and romaine, " the agency said in its December 28 statement. Still, they say, the Canadian finding has proved helpful and both outbreaks appear to have been caused by related strains of the bacteria, suggesting the possibility of a shared source.

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