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There is no danger from consuming romaine lettuce, health authorities say
11 January 2018, 09:53 | Lena Norman
E. coli Outbreak Update – 24 sick, 9 hospitalized, 2 with HUS, 1 dead in 15 states
Canada identified romaine lettuce as the source of illness there, but where the greens came from or where they were contaminated is unknown.
In a tweet this week, Scott Gottlieb, commissioner of the FDA (the agency that would be responsible for issuing any product recall), said that the FDA "will continue to update on the recent E. coli outbreak".
"Leafy greens typically have a short shelf life, and since the last illness started a month ago, it is likely that contaminated leafy greens linked to this outbreak are no longer available for sale", the CDC said.
"Illnesses started on dates from November 15 through December 12, 2017", the CDC reported today.
Nine people were hospitalized, including one in California that died. Attorney Fred Pritzker and his team recently won $7.5 million for young client whose kidneys failed after he developed hemolytic uremic syndrome because of an E. coli infection.
Numerous sick people reported eating romaine lettuce in various forms from grocery stores, restaurants and other locations.
In all, 42 people, from five provinces, became ill, according to Public Health Agency Canada.
The cases in the United States are the same strain as the cases in Canada and some of them have the same genetic fingerprint.
In the US, the CDC did not make any recommendations to the public about avoiding any foods in its initial December 28, 2017, media statement on the outbreak or in today's update.To date, only half of the USA victims have been interviewed by outbreak investigators. Of 13 people interviewed, all 13 reported eating leafy greens.
Boston Pizza International Inc. also temporarily suspended the sale of all types of romaine lettuce at the pizza joint's locations in Ontario, Quebec and Atlantic Canada as of December 26.
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency says it has completed its food safety investigation and all samples tested were negative for E. coli.
"The industry associations are committed to working with government agencies in both the United States and Canada to assist with the ongoing investigations".
Based on that information, officials say that ill persons in this outbreak are not more likely than healthy people to have eaten romaine lettuce. "We think it's important to avoid eating romaine until the cause of this outbreak is determined", said Jean Halloran, Consumer Reports Food Policy Expert.
When a foodborne disease outbreak is detected, public health and regulatory officials work quickly to collect as much information as possible to find out what is causing it, so they can take action to prevent more people from getting sick.
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