Romaine Lettuce Is Not Safe To Eat Whatsoever, CDC Warns

Henrietta Brewer
November 22, 2018

"This tells us that the same strain of E. coli is causing illness in Canada and the United States as was seen in 2017 and it suggests there may be a reoccurring source of contamination", says the health agency.

The Public Health Agency of Canada issued an public health notice Tuesday advising only individuals in Ontario and Quebec to avoid eating romaine lettuce and salad mixes containing romaine lettuce.

The Republic imports some romaine lettuce from the United States, local authorities confirmed, after warnings by American health officials not to eat the vegetable as they have been linked to an outbreak of food poisoning in the US.

The USDA has recalled almost 100,000 pounds of beef as it may be contaminated with traces of e.coli and were shipped to locations in Calif., Nev., Ore., Utah, and Wash.

Since the recall of Jennie-O Turkey products was announced last week, health investigators have added a fifth item.

That outbreak killed one person and sickened 164 others.

The agency is working with the U.S. FDA to determine the source of the romaine lettuce that the ill individuals were exposed to.

Loblaw and Sobeys have both said that they have stopped selling romaine lettuce nationwide.

It can take a week for symptoms to appear in some cases and by then, asking someone to recall everything they ate the week before might be hard and thus, impact a health agency's comfort in taking action against a particular source of the outbreak, Neumann said.

That was a "point of frustration" then, said Warriner, because it left retailers and restaurants uncertain about whether to pull romaine lettuce from their shelves - something many ended up doing anyway.

The alert comes after 32 people in 11 states, plus another 18 people in Canada, were reported infected with E. coli between October 8 and 31 and romaine was found to be the likely culprit.

She is referring to romaine lettuce.

If contaminated food products are identified in Canada, they will take the necessary steps to protect the public, including recalling the product as required. Typical symptoms include stomach cramps, diarrhea and vomiting.

Antibiotics should not be used in treating E. coli O157 bacterial infections, said Dr. Isaac Bogoch, an infectious disease specialist at Toronto General Hospital.

Most symptoms end within five to ten days. It only takes a small number of the bacteria's cells to cause illness, so handling contaminated lettuce can spread infection, he said.

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