Coli Outbreak: Should You Really Avoid Romaine Lettuce?

Coli Outbreak: Should You Really Avoid Romaine Lettuce?

Coli Outbreak: Should You Really Avoid Romaine Lettuce?

A new warning has been issued by Consumer Reports to avoid romaine lettuce while us and Canadian health officials continue their investigation after 58 people were reported sick from E. coli infections, NBC News reported. US officials have yet to determine that the outbreak has to do with any specific food. One death has been reported.

"Because we have not identified a source of the infections, CDC is unable to recommend whether USA residents should avoid a particular food".

Whole-genome sequencing comparing the isolates from Canada and the United States has shown that the same strain is involved and that a common food source probably the source, Williams said. Two of the hospitalized patients developed hemolytic uremic syndrome, a type of kidney failure.

"Even if this outbreak is actually confirmed to be caused by romaine lettuce, it's important to recognize this is a highly perishable product with a limited usable shelf life and it's highly unlikely a specific affected lot would still be available for sale or in a home refrigerator with the last US illness being reported on December 8 and the last Canadian illness reported December 12", it said in a joint statement with the Produce Marketing Association and other groups.

Consumer Reports is recommending that Americans avoid all romaine lettuce for now, but other food safety experts say it may be too soon to blame romaine for the outbreak.

- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is investigating a multi-state outbreak of E. coli infections.

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Loblaws Superstores said that since the CFIA, Health Canada and the Public Health Agency have not announced a recall for romaine lettuce products in Canada, it has not stopped selling it in stores.

The CDC investigation is ongoing, and not all the tests have been completed, Williams said.

In the US, government health officials are investigating the outbreaks, but have stopped short of recommending people avoid romaine lettuce or any other food. Seventeen illnesses have been reported in 13 states, including one case in Pennsylvania, the CDC said. Here government health officials are still investigating the outbreaks and have made no suggestions regarding romaine lettuce consumption.

Consumer Reports said people should err on the side of caution and throw out romaine lettuce. Young children, the elderly and anyone with a condition that weakens the immune system are at a greater risk for illness.

"People usually get sick from E. coli O157:H7 three to four days after eating food contaminated with the germ".

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