Consumer Reports pressured the CDC and FDA to do more to protect shoppers, but the produce was still on USA grocery store shelves Thursday. But, so far investigators with the CDC in the US and the Public Health Agency of Canada have found 58 people became ill after eating contaminated lettuce in the past few weeks.
There were 41 cases of E. coli under investigation in total in Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Newfoundland and Labrador as of December 28, according to a statement from Public Health Agency of Canada.
Consumer Reports says people should stop eating romaine lettuce until the cause of the outbreak is identified and the tainted product is removed from store shelves. Though the source of infection is still unknown, the CDC is investigating leafy greens and romaine lettuce.
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Cooking is one way to kill foodborne bacteria such as E. coli or salmonella, but since lettuce is usually eaten raw that's no help.
Consumers Union's Jean Halloran said people should get stronger warnings. Here government health officials are still investigating the outbreaks and have made no suggestions regarding romaine lettuce consumption. The CDC is now interviewing sick people to determine what they ate in the week prior to getting sick.
The infections have occurred in California, Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Vermont and Washington.
"We're very hopeful that things are wrapping up, but we don't have enough data to say that". "This investigation is ongoing, and more information will be released as it becomes available", the agency said in a statement.
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It can take weeks to track down the source of a food poisoning outbreak.
Another possibility is that the E. coli strain causing illness in the United States is actually slightly different from the strain in Canada. But does this mean you should skip the romaine on your sandwich or in your salad?
The strain of bacteria has been identified as shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli O157:H7, which can cause stomach cramps, diarrhea and vomiting. Two people have developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a type of kidney failure.
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