Published: Fri, January 12, 2018
Medical | By Jackie Banks

Coli risk for romaine lettuce returns to low

Coli risk for romaine lettuce returns to low

Canadian health officials announced Wednesday that an outbreak of Shiga toxin-producing E. coli O157:H7 infections (STEC O157:H7) appears to have ended.

For its part, in a statement the CDC reported that the investigation continues, but the experts "have not identified a specific type of leafy green vegetables linked to infections in the United States and because of the short shelf life of green leafy vegetables, the CDC does not recommend that residents in the country avoid any particular food at this time".

Illnesses started on dates from November 15 through December 12, 2017.

The CDC did whole genome sequencing on the bacteria that caused the outbreak and found they were genetically similar to those implicated in a similar outbreak in Canada.

Although the outbreak appears to be over, the agency suggests safe food handling procedures for preparing lettuce should always be followed.

In an interview with NBC News, a CDC official said that even though Canadian authorities have linked the outbreak to romaine, USA food safety workers haven't been able to identify a single food consumed by everyone affected. Officials say that since the last illness started nearly a month ago, it's likely that any contaminated leafy greens that are linked to this outbreak are no longer on the market. Because CDC has not identified a specific type of leafy greens linked to the USA infections, and because of the short shelf life of leafy greens, CDC is not recommending that US residents avoid any particular food at this time.

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In a media statement, Halloran urged the CDC and Canadian officials to share their raw data on the outbreak and called on the FDA to request and review internal bacterial testing data from producers of romaine lettuce in order to pinpoint the source of the E. coli bacteria that has triggered the illnesses. There is 1 reported death.

Pressure had been mounting on the CDC and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to provide more information to the public about this outbreak. Most people recover from the illness in five to seven days.

But U.S. health authorities have said it's too early to blame leafy greens as the probe continues.

Most people develop diarrhea (often bloody) and stomach cramps.

If you or a loved one have been sickened with an E. coli O157:H7 infection or HUS, contact our experienced attorneys for help at 1-888-377-8900.

The outbreak of E. coli O157 was declared in December after several reports of illness in Newfoundland and Labrador, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Quebec.

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