Avoid eating romaine lettuce after E. Coli outbreak in US, Canada

Julian Howatt weight romaine lettuce he grows hydroponically at his Moncton indoor farm Local by Atta. He said he's been getting calls about romaine lettuce since Health Canada issued a warning in December

Julian Howatt weight romaine lettuce he grows hydroponically at his Moncton indoor farm Local by Atta. He said he's been getting calls about romaine lettuce since Health Canada issued a warning in December

Food Safety News reports that officials at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and Center for Disease Control are still investigating the exact source of the outbreak.

In the US, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said investigators are still interviewing people who fell ill in 13 states, including MI, to see if there's a common thread. 5 people have been hospitalized and 1 has died due to illness according to CNN who spoke with CDC officials.

The Government of Canada has issued a warning from the Public Health Agency of Canada to its citizens to steer clear from eating romaine lettuce that could be infected after they reported 41 cases of illness.

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Other states with reported illnesses are Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, New Hampshire, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Vermont and Washington.

Consumer Reports said people should stop eating romaine lettuce until the cause of the outbreak is identified and the tainted product is removed from store shelves, KGO reported. Leafy greens, including romaine lettuce, were the cause of E. coli outbreaks in 2006, 2011, 2012 and 2013.

The U.S. cases were reported beginning November 15 to December 8.

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"Because we have not identified a source of the infections, CDC is unable to recommend whether United States residents should avoid a particular food".

A similar outbreak in Canada was traced to romaine lettuce. "The FDA should follow the lead of the Canadian government and immediately warn the public about this risk", says Jean Halloran, Director of Food Policy Initiatives at Consumers Union.

"In the USA, government health officials are investigating the outbreaks, but have stopped short of recommending people avoid romaine lettuce or any other food", said the nonprofit organization. The agency says they can not yet link the outbreak of E. Coli to a certain type of food. The CDC estimates that about one in six Americans are made sick by foodborne illnesses every year - that's about 48 million people.

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The particular strain of E. coli (O157:H7) produces a powerful toxin, which can cause severe illness and even death.

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