Romaine lettuce linked to deadly E. coli outbreak


The Center for Disease Control is investigating an E. coli outbreak in romaine lettuce that has sickened at least 58 people in the US and Canada.

The US Centre for Disease Control (CDC) said it is still determining the cause of the outbreak by interviewing affected people, while the the Public Health Agency of Canada said it has identified Romaine lettuce as the source.

"Because of the ongoing risk in eastern Canada, the Public Health Agency of Canada is advising individuals in Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Newfoundland and Labrador to consider consuming other types of lettuce, instead of romaine lettuce, until more is known about the outbreak and the cause of contamination". Scientists are working to see whether the two are related. The 17 USA cases were reported beginning November 15 to December 8, while Canada had 41 cases.

The consumer advocacy group believes USA health officials should be sending a stronger message to stay away from the popular salad green as they investigate the string of illnesses.

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

A warning from the CDC is urging people to be cautious of eating romaine lettuce after almost 60 people were infected by E. coli bacteria.

"The available data strongly suggest that romaine lettuce is the source of the US outbreak". There has been a death in each country, Consumer Reports said. The types of E. coli that can cause diarrhea can be transmitted through contaminated water or food, or through contact with animals or persons.

Consumer Reports said people should err on the side of caution and throw out romaine lettuce. That means people falling ill are more likely to share a common source of infection. "Consumers should also check salad blends and mixes, and avoid those that contain romaine". The CDC estimates that about one in six Americans are made sick by foodborne illnesses every year - that's about 48 million people. Leafy greens, including romaine lettuce, were the cause of outbreaks from E. coli 0157:H7 in 2006, 2011, 2012, and 2013.