Tuesday, 23 January, 2018

Consumer Reports Issues Warning Against Eating Romaine Lettuce

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Melissa Porter | 09 January, 2018, 02:55

At least five people have been hospitalized in the USA and one person in California has died, the CDC says.

Most E. coli outbreaks are linked to meat products, but leafy greens are occasionally the cause.

The "Center for Disease Control" (CDC) is urging people to avoid eating all kinds of romaine lettuce after almost 60 people were infected by E. Coli bacteria in more than a dozen states, including MI.

In the past two months, 58 people in the USA and Canada have become ill and one person in the US has died in the multi-state outbreak, according to Consumer Reports. The latest reports state 41 cases of infection in Canada, 17 of whom needed to be hospitalized and one of whom has died, while one individual has also died in the United States.

Authorities state that the cause of this E.coli outbreak is romaine lettuce. There has also been one death in Canada.

"Preliminary results show that the type of E. coli making people sick in both countries is closely related genetically, meaning the ill people are more likely to share a common source of infection".

However, there are certain strains of E. coli that can cause illnesses such as the Shiga toxin-producing strain of E. coli, which is often heard of in relation to food-related outbreaks.

So far, authorities in Canada have pointed to Romaine lettuce as the likely source of the infection, while authorities in the United States are still now conducting an investigation that includes interviewing the infected people to determine the meals they consumed in the week prior to the onset of the illness.

However, on its website, it said, "We have not identified a source of the infections, thus is unable to recommend whether USA residents should avoid a particular food". State and local public health officials are interviewing sick people to determine what they ate in a week before their illness started. "This investigation is ongoing, and more information will be released as it becomes available". Though U.S. health officials are investigating the cause of the outbreak, they have not officially identified lettuce or any other food as the source.

Vegetables can become contaminated with the bacteria if animal feces from the field or watering process aren't properly removed, according to James Rogers, Director of Food Safety and Research at Consumer Reports.

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