Coli outbreak is linked to 2017 leafy greens outbreak

Simon Moss
November 23, 2018

Illnesses have also been reported in 11 states in the U.S.

Both the USA and Canadian alerts, coming as millions of Americans planned their Thanksgiving Day menus, urged consumers, restaurants and retailers to throw out all romaine left in stock and sanitise their shelves. Another E. coli O157:H7 outbreak linked to romaine lettuce probably has you wondering where this contaminated product is coming from and how is it related to past outbreaks. "Follow these five steps to clean your refrigerator".

Meanwhile, according to the Public Health Agency of Canada, 18 ill people have been infected with the same strain in Ontario and Quebec. The cause of the outbreak is still unknown.

Monterey County Agricultural Commissioner Henry Gonzales told local media it is "very likely" the poisoned romaine came from his country.

"This tells us that the same strain of E. coli is causing illness in Canada and the U.S. as was seen in 2017 and it suggests there may be a reoccurring source of contamination", says the health agency. In the meantime, the CDC is advising consumers not to eat it and asking retailers and restaurants not to serve any romaine lettuce until more is known about the outbreak.

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In the meantime, a quick scan of several major supermarkets on Wednesday showed that most still had the lettuce on their shelves, while at least one - Cost Pro in Madame Estate - was not taking any chances and was removing romaine lettuce from its shelves.

The public is advised that if anyone has consumed tainted romaine lettuce the following E.coli infection symptoms may occur within 1-10 days: (a) severe stomach cramps; (b) diarrhoea (often with blood and lasting more than three days); (c) high fever; and (d) vomiting.

Statement from the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs on E. Coli Infections linked to Romaine Lettuce. He also admitted that financial losses associated with recalling the lettuce from all store shelves would be significant.

13 people have been hospitalized.

There are no deaths reported in connection to this outbreak, but one person has developed hemolytic uremic syndrome. "If you go to the store to do some shopping, make sure you're not buying any romaine", said Laura Gieraltowski with the CDC Foodborne Outbreak Response Team.

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