Health Care

Health department alert over romaine lettuce

Health department alert over romaine lettuce

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

The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention in the United States believes the source of the outbreak is romaine lettuce, and has warned businesses and consumers not to use or eat the leaf until the affected batch has been tracked down.

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.

The USDA has recalled almost 100,000 pounds of beef as it may be contaminated with traces of e.coli and were shipped to locations in Calif., Nev., Ore., Utah, and Wash. Most cases are mild, so don't panic.

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The health agency says that the investigation so far has led them to believe that the source of the outbreak is romaine lettuce, and because illnesses continue to be reported it is possible that contaminated produce is still in the market. Thirteen people have been hospitalized, including one who developed kidney failure, though no one has died.

Individuals who became ill are between 5 and 93 years of age.

"New Brunswickers should avoid eating romaine lettuce and salad mixes containing romaine lettuce until more is known about the outbreak and the cause of contamination", said Dr. Jennifer Russell, the province's chief medical officer of health, in a news release issued Wednesday.

That was a "point of frustration" then, said Warriner, because it left retailers and restaurants uncertain about whether to pull romaine lettuce from their shelves - something many ended up doing anyway.

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As of November 20, 2018, 32 people infected with the outbreak strain of E. coli O157:H7 have been reported from 11 states. It isn't clear why that is, but it could be because it is such a commonly used lettuce that gets sent to various places for chopping and processing, said Raghela Scavuzzo, manager of the Illinois Specialty Growers Association.

Some people can be infected with E. coli without symptoms but still spread the infection to others, the agency said.

Under the Consumer Protection Act, consumers are therefore to refrain from purchasing or consuming imported Romaine lettuce until further notice.

However, the CFIA has said if the contaminated food products are identified in Canada, they will take the necessary steps to protect the public, including recalling the product. Symptoms can show up anywhere from one to 10 days after exposure, the CDC says.

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