Health Alert: US And Canada E. coli Outbreak Linked To Romaine Lettuce

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Consumer Reports warns people to avoid eating romaine lettuce after it is linked to the E. coli outbreak in the U.S. and Canada. The E. coli bacteria infected almost 60 people in Canada and 13 states in the U.S. including California, New York, Michigan, Illinois, and Ohio.

The Center for Disease Control Prevention (CDC) reported that the E. coli outbreak has started spreading in mid-November. It had sent a number of people to the hospital and also caused a death of one person in the U.S. It is also reported that another person died in Canada, in which the source of bacteria was traced to the leafy greens, according to CBS News.

James Rogers, the Consumer Report’s director of food safety and research, said that although they could not say with 100 percent certainly that romaine lettuce is the cause of the E. coli outbreak in the U.S., a greater degree of caution is appropriate given that lettuce is almost consumed raw. The Consumer Reports also said that washing any greens could not remove all E. coli bacteria that may be visible.

Rogers added that vegetables could be contaminated if animal feces are in the field or in irrigation or washing water. He further explained that the bacteria could also be transferred if a person who carries the bacteria does not wash his hands after using the bathroom.

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CDC stated that the Public Health Agency of Canada pointed to romaine lettuce as the source of the outbreak in Canada. However, CDC has not yet identified the source of infections and it could not say whether the U.S. residents should refrain from a certain food, according to NBC News.

Likewise, the FDA is now investigating the source of the infections and it said that there is not enough information yet. Meanwhile, the Consumer Reports stated that neither the U.S. nor Canadian health officials have provided information on where the romaine lettuce potentially involved in the illnesses was grown or processed. It advised for now that consumers could infer that any romaine lettuce whether sold in bags and packages might be possibly contaminated.

It further advised the people not to buy romaine lettuce and not to consume any in your refrigerator until there is enough information on the source of contamination. It added to avoid salad blends and mixes with romaine lettuce.