Published: Fri, January 05, 2018
Health Care | By Oscar Goodwin

Romaine lettuce linked to outbreak of E. coli in 13 states

Romaine lettuce linked to outbreak of E. coli in 13 states

Americans have been warned not to eat romaine lettuce after an outbreak of E. coli infection in Canada was attributed to people eating contaminated romaine lettuce, it has been reported.

"Even though we can't say with 100 percent certainty that romaine lettuce is the cause of the E. coli outbreak in the USA, a greater degree of caution is appropriate given that lettuce is nearly always consumed raw", said James Rogers, Ph.D., Director of Food Safety and Research at Consumer Reports in their report.

Similarly, there were also multiple reports of such illnesses in Canada, wherein the type of E. coli bacteria is genetically similar to the one causing illnesses in the United States. Other states with single cases included Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Nebraska, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Vermont and Washington, according to the release.

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The consumer advocacy group advised that people stop eating romaine lettuce until the cause of the outbreak is identified and the offending product is removed from store shelves.

The consumer advocacy group believes US health officials should be sending a stronger message to stay away from the popular salad green as they investigate the string of illnesses. The Canadian government, having identified romaine lettuce in retail and restaurants as the culprit of the illnesses, is advising its citizens in the eastern provinces to avoid that particular leafy green. Though U.S. government officials have stopped short of advising people to avoid romaine altogether, Canadian officials linked the illnesses to lettuce on December 14.

States affected by the outbreak, which was first reported due to illness on November 15, 2017, are California (3), CT (2), IL (1), IN (1), MI (1), Nebraska (1), New Hampshire (2), NY (1), OH (1), Pennsylvania (1), Virginia (1), and Washington (1).

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"The available data strongly suggest that romaine lettuce is the source of the US outbreak".

Consumer Reports said people should err on the side of caution and throw out romaine lettuce.

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