Coli breakout linked to romaine lettuce

Bryan Strickland
January 5, 2018

28, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that 17 illnesses from E. coli infection had been reported in 13 different states: California, Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Vermont and Washington. In the US, the infections have been confirmed in 13 states - California, Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Vermont and Washington. One person in Canada and one in the US have died. There has also been one death reported in Canada. A Canadian Food Inspection Agency-led investigation has determined that romaine lettuce is at the heart of the E. coli outbreak in five eastern provinces, but the source of the produce has not yet been identified. There is not enough epidemiologic or traceback evidence at this time to indicate a specific source of illnesses in the United States. Two people have developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a type of kidney failure.

"Neither the US nor Canadian health officials have provided information on where the romaine lettuce potentially involved in the illnesses was grown or processed, so for now, Consumer Reports says consumers should assume that any romaine lettuce, even when sold in bags and packages, could possibly be contaminated", it advised. In the U.S., the Center for Disease Control is investigating the issue, but has not yet issued a general warning.

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Some restaurant chains have stopped serving dishes with romaine lettuce amid a deadly E. coli outbreak linked to the leafy vegetable. The Public Health Agency of Canada has reported on 41 illnesses and say the cases are related to romaine lettuce. "They can say it's romaine lettuce, but they cannot say what lettuce and from where", he said.

Jean Halloran, director of food policy initiatives at Consumers Union, a division of Consumer Reports, said the US Food and Drug Administration should follow Canada's example and immediately warn the public about the potential risk from romaine lettuce. Infections with E. coli O157 can be life-threatening, especially for the elderly, the very young and immune-compromised people, such as cancer patients, Williams said.

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