Canadian consumers warned of outbreak of E. coli connected to romaine lettuce

Randy Kelley
November 23, 2018

On Tuesday the CDC warned consumers and retailers that at least 32 people in 11 states, including Wisconsin, have gotten sick since October from a strain of E. coli.

The CDC alert includes all romaine lettuce varieties such as whole heads or hearts, bags and boxes of pre-cut lettuce and salad mixes, including Caesar Salad.

In a rare, wide-ranging alert two days before Thanksgiving on Thursday, the CDC warned American consumers romaine lettuce was unsafe to eat in any form in response to a new outbreak of illnesses caused by a particularly risky type of E coli bacteria. Consumers are encouraged to check their refrigerators for any romaine lettuce that may be stored there and discard them as well.

The Associated Press (AP) reported yesterday that the strain of E. coli in the current outbreak differs from the one linked to romaine earlier this year that sickened about 200 people and killed five.

According to USA Today, "health investigators have not been able to identify a single supplier of live turkeys or raw turkey products as the source of the outbreak".

The Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, has suspended with immediate effect, the issuing of permits for the importation of Romaine lettuce from the United States.

The nationwide recall of romaine lettuce couldn't have come at a worse time.

This is the only case that has been linked to the outbreak, from Ottawa.

An ongoing E. coli scare linked to romaine lettuce is one reason a major produce company believes there is a future for growing lettuce indoors in southern Alberta.

In 2018, 98 percent of all romaine imports totaling 4,921 metric tons originated in the US, according to FDA data.

Several foods have been recalled recently due to some sort of contamination.

According to a 2013 US government report, leafy greens such as lettuce and spinach are the biggest source of food poisoning.

Nine people were hospitalized, including two people who developed hemolytic uremic syndrome, a type of kidney failure. It should be noted this outbreak and the consumer advisories are limited to romaine lettuce only.

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