Health warning after E. coli break out in romaine lettuce

Romaine lettuce still causing major e coli outbreaks across US and now spreading to Canada

Investigators still have yet to locate the source of contamination leading to widespread outbreaks across the US and Canada

Chris Riotta
New York
@chrisriotta
Monday 26 November 2018 19:55
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Investigators are still working to identify the source of batches of romaine lettuce believed to be linked to multiple outbreaks of E. coli spreading across the United States and Canada.

The Centre for Disease Control (CDC) has not yet released updates regarding the total number of people taken ill during the major outbreaks since it issued a warning last week that identified at least 32 cases across 11 states.

The outbreak now appears to have spread to Canada, with health officials and investigators believing more than 20 cases of E. coli in Ontario, Quebec and New Brunswick were linked to the spread in the US.

Officials are typically able to locate the source of lettuce or other foods linked to E. coli outbreaks within days of their initial reported discoveries.

However, outbreaks can last a span of weeks and sometimes even months, including earlier this year when a four-month outbreak of E. Coli killed five people and left more than 200 people sick, nearly a hundred of which were forced to go to the hospital.

That outbreak — as well as many others before it — was linked to an infected water source. That source was located near a romaine producer in Yuma, Arizona.

The CDC is still advising not to consume romaine lettuce, as officials begin to close in on the region where the source was believed to have originated from.

One FDA official wrote on Twitter over the weekend, “The romaine implicated in the current outbreak is likely from California based on growing and harvesting patterns.”

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He added, “The goal now is to withdraw the product that’s at risk of being contaminated from the market, and then re-stock the market.”

So far, no deaths have been reported linked to the latest outbreak.

Officials are also calling on consumers and restaurants to throw away any romaine lettuce — even if nobody in the home has been sickened — and fully clean the area where it was stored so as to avoid additional contamination.

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