Published: Thu, November 22, 2018
Medical | By Vicki Mclaughlin

U.S. issues health alert on romaine lettuce

U.S. issues health alert on romaine lettuce

The Department of Health is to contact local food suppliers after a large-scale outbreak of E. coli in the United States associated with romaine lettuce.

CDC, public health and regulatory officials in several states and Canada, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration are investigating a multistate outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 infections.

Most symptoms end within five to ten days.

The AVA said on Wednesday that no specific brand of lettuce or farm have been identified by United States authorities in relation to the outbreak, and it has also reminded the food industry here to be vigilant.

He suspects the USA has gone a step further than Canada in part because US authorities reported 32 cases of E. coli, 13 of which involved a person who was hospitalized.

"Currently, there is no evidence to suggest that residents in other parts of Canada are affected by this outbreak", Health Canada spokesperson Anna Maddison told Postmedia in an email.

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People infected with E. coli can have a wide range of symptoms, which include nausea, vomiting, headache, mild fever, severe stomach cramps, watery or bloody diarrhea.

They say the people that got sick are between 5 and 93 years of age and 56 per cent are female.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency did not immediately respond to a request for comment about why it had stopped short of instructing grocery stores to stop selling romaine lettuce and restaurants to cease serving it.

Meanwhile in Canada 18 people have been taken ill, with the same strain of bacteria as the cause. On Wednesday, they said they were temporarily taking hundreds of products containing the vegetable off shelves at thousands of grocery stores that they own.

The Public Health Agency of Canada issued a warning Tuesday afternoon, telling people in Ontario and Quebec not to consume romaine lettuce.

Eleven (79%) of 14 people interviewed reported eating romaine lettuce.

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