E Coli Outbreak Spreads to 15 States; Leafy Greens Suspected

12 January 2018, 12:30 | Robert Harris

Outbreak of E. Coli Linked To Romaine Lettuce ‘Appears To Be Over

Outbreak of E. Coli Linked To Romaine Lettuce ‘Appears To Be Over

The CDC noted that leafy greens were the likely source of the outbreak but Canadian health authorities pointed specifically to romaine lettuce for the spread of E. coli infections in the Eastern provinces.

"Public health agencies in both the United States and Canada are informing consumers that there are no concerns about consuming any particular food, while they continue their investigations into what caused this E. coli O157:H7 outbreak that began in November".

"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 given that lettuce is nearly always consumed raw", James Rogers, director of food safety and research at Consumer Reports, said in a press release.

In an interview with NBC News, a CDC official said that even though Canadian authorities have linked the outbreak to romaine, US food safety workers haven't been able to identify a single food consumed by everyone affected. "Canada has identified the source as romaine lettuce", says Jean Halloran, director of Food Policy Initiatives at Consumers Union, the policy and mobilization division of Consumer Reports. One person has also died in Canada. CDC continues to work with regulatory partners in several states, at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency to identify the source.

In the US, the CDC did not make any recommendations to the public about avoiding any foods in its initial December 28, 2017, media statement on the outbreak or in today's update.To date, only half of the USA victims have been interviewed by outbreak investigators. They include severe stomach cramps, diarrhea and vomiting.

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Caesar salads are off the menu at Wendy's for the time being as U.S. Center for Disease Control investigates an outbreak of E. coli infections that might be linked to eating romaine lettuce.

This infection can sometimes develop into a complication called hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), which is a type of kidney failure. In the United States, 17 people are sick. "Without knowing the source, it's hard to know", he said, per NBC News. You can also wash counters, cutting boards, and utensils after they touch raw meat to avoid contaminating other foods. There has been one death, which was previously reported.

If you are concerned that you might have an E. coli infection, talk to your health care provider. It's also important to avoid preparing food when you are sick, particularly if you are sick with diarrhea.

Produce trade organizations issued a statement that, as of last week, no public health agency had contacted romaine lettuce growers or processors and asked to stop shipping product. It urged the public to avoid eating romaine lettuce until more is known about the contamination.



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