E. Coli Outbreak in Ontario, Quebec Linked to Romaine Lettuce

Faith Castro
November 22, 2018

Experts said the difference in approach likely stems from how many cases there are, how cautious nations want to be about protecting industries and how certain authorities are about the outbreak's origins. If you have questions about cases in a particular state, please call that state's health department.

"Later, test results confirmed, laboratory confirmation, that the case was in fact linked to the outbreak of E.coli infections".

"If inspectors observe romaine being sold, they will order the establishment to dispose of the product", Health Department spokesman Michael Lanza said.

Epidemiologic evidence from the United States and Canada indicates that romaine lettuce is a likely source of the outbreak.

Under the Consumer Protection Act, consumers are therefore to refrain from purchasing or consuming imported Romaine lettuce until further notice.

The Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, has suspended with immediate effect, the issuing of permits for the importation of Romaine lettuce from the United States.

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No deaths have been reported so far but 32 cases of food poisoning were reported across 11 states in the U.S., with 13 people hospitalised and one patient developing a form of kidney failure.

"We have the technology today to be able to trace it back", she added, referring to blockchain technology that allows people along the supply chain to securely enter information that can be accessed quickly in case of an emergency.

Complications can be life-threatening, including kidney failure. These symptoms include: nausea, vomiting, headache, mild fever, severe stomach cramps and watery or bloody diarrhoea. People in the spring outbreak were infected with E. coli O157:H7 bacteria with a different DNA fingerprint. Symptoms can show up anywhere from one to 10 days after exposure, the CDC says. "They are not actually coming down with a decision, they are saying 'hey, be careful". Contamination of vegetables and fruit can occur when they come in contact with animal feces. For other consumers, the health agency has provided tips on lowering your risk of illness, including washing your hands and the produce thoroughly and discarding the outer leaves of fresh lettuce.

The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention in the U.S. believes the source of the outbreak is romaine lettuce, and has warned businesses and consumers not to use or eat the leaf until the affected batch has been tracked down.

Sobeys and Loblaws are pulling romaine lettuce from the shelves of all its stores across Canada.

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