CDC investigating E. coli outbreak in 13 states

CDC investigating E. coli outbreak in 13 states

It is a recommendation not yet made by either the U.S. Food and Drug Administration or the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Although no suspicion has been raised about any tainted greens coming from Ventura County, concerns about the outbreak could cut into sales, which could have an impact on local growers. "Individuals in Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Newfoundland and Labrador should consider consuming other types of lettuce, instead of romaine lettuce, until more is known about the outbreak and the cause of contamination". The produce also comes from Mexico.

The CDC statement said it was investigating the outbreak and had not definitively linked it to romaine.

While CDC is still collecting information to determine whether there is a food item in common that was ingested by those who were taken ill, including leafy greens and romaine, the Public Health Agency of Canada has identified romaine lettuce as the source of the food poisoning outbreak in Canada. The statement did not specify where the lettuce may have originated.

Even though the CDC hasn't confirmed a link with romaine lettuce, Consumer Reports is still recommending that people stop eating it until the cause of the outbreak is determined.

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In the USA, the infections have occurred in 13 states (California, Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Vermont, and Washington state).

Until the CDC or the FDA issues a notice that romaine is indeed the culprit and information about where the romaine came from, those in the U.S. should still remain cautious.

States where the E. coli had been linked to people falling ill included California, Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Vermont and Washington.

"Even if this outbreak is actually confirmed to be caused by Romaine lettuce, it's important to recognize this is a highly perishable product with a limited usable shelf life and it's highly unlikely a specific affected lot would still be available for sale or in a home refrigerator with the last US illness being reported on December 8 and the last Canadian illness reported December 12'".

The strain of E. coli that's sickening people now produces a toxin than can lead to serious illness, kidney failure and death, Consumer Reports said. Symptoms include diarrhea (often bloody) and abdominal cramping. Fruits and vegetables can become contaminated with E. coli when they come into contact with feces from infected animals, or with bacteria from raw meat, poultry or seafood. 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.

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