E. coli outbreak warning hits Canada’s largest provinces, and the entire United States.
If you live in Ontario or Quebec, and you’re planning to have some romaine lettuce, you should put those plans on hold.
That’s according to the Public Health Agency of Canada.
The agency says there have been 15 confirmed cases of E. coli in Quebec, and 3 in Ontario.
The cases are linked to Romaine lettuce.
People in Ontario & Quebec are advised against eating romaine lettuce – including any salads that have the lettuce mixed in – until given further notice by the agency.
Currently, Health Canada says there have not been outbreaks in other provinces.
A warning was also given to our neighbours in the south. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention has told people living in all American states to avoid romaine lettuce entirely.
The current E. coli outbreak is considered similar to an outbreak that took place in December of 2017.
Here’s a key section of the Public Health Notice:
“In Canada, based on the investigation findings to date, exposure to romaine lettuce has been identified as a source of the outbreak, but the cause of contamination has not been identified. Laboratory analysis indicates that the illnesses reported in this outbreak are genetically related to illnesses reported in a previous E. coli outbreak from December 2017 that affected consumers in both Canada and the U.S. This tells us that the same strain of E. coli is causing illness in Canada and the US as was seen in 2017 and it suggests there may be a reoccurring source of contamination. Investigators are using evidence collected in both outbreaks to help identify the possible cause of the contamination in these events.
The current outbreak appears to be ongoing as illnesses linked to romaine lettuce continue to be reported. These recent illnesses indicate that contaminated romaine lettuce may still be on the market, including in restaurants, grocery stores and any establishments that serve food. At this time, the investigation evidence in Ontario and Quebec suggests that there is a risk of E. coli infections associated with eating romaine lettuce.
As the risk is ongoing, the Public Health Agency of Canada is advising individuals in Ontario and Quebec to avoid eating romaine lettuce and salad mixes containing romaine lettuce until more is known about the outbreak and the cause of contamination. Currently, there is no evidence to suggest that residents in other parts of Canada are affected by this outbreak. The U.S. CDC has also issued communications with similar advice for U.S individuals in affected states. The outbreak investigation is ongoing, and this public health notice will be updated as the Canadian investigation evolves.”
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