Romaine Lettuce May Be At The Heart Of A Big E. Coli Outbreak

 Until authorities figure things out, it may be a good idea to steer clear of romaine lettuce.

A report is suggesting that people stay away from romaine lettuce until U.S. and Canadian health officials get to the bottom of an outbreak of E. coli infections. Consumer Reports is calling on the Food and Drug Administration and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to do more to warn people about the outbreak.

So far in the U.S. and Canada, at least one person has died, five people have been hospitalized, and 58 got sick from the outbreak. Although it's not officially confirmed that the cause of the outbreak in the U.S. is from romaine lettuce, officials say it's likely because food borne bacteria like E. coli or salmonella are killed through cooking and lettuce is usually not cooked.

The Public Health Agency of Canada has confirmed that romaine lettuce is the cause of the outbreak in Canada. This strain of E. coli (0157:H7) produces a toxin that in some cases can lead to serious illness, kidney failure, and even death. The CDC says it does not have enough information to recommend people in the U.S. avoid a particular food.

“Consumer Reports” suggests you follow Canadian officials recommendations. In their warning, the Canadian health officials noted that romaine lettuce can have a shelf life of up to five weeks, so lettuce you purchased a few weeks ago could still be contaminated. Check salad blends and mixes, too, and avoid those that contain romaine.

Symptoms start about one to three days after eating the tainted food. They include severe stomach cramps, diarrhea (often bloody), and vomiting. Some people may have a slight fever.Source: Consumer Reports

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