Health Canada issues formal warning after E. coli outbreak from romaine lettuce

Nov 29 2018, 1:20 am

Health Canada reported E. coli infections in Ontario and Quebec associated with eating romaine lettuce earlier this month, and after the number of cases in Canada continues to rise, an official warning has been issued regarding a certain harvest of the vegetable.

As a part of the ongoing investigation into the outbreak of E. coli illnesses, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has advised all distributors, importers, restaurants, retailers, and institutions not to “distribute, import, sell, serve, or use romaine lettuce and products containing romaine lettuce harvested in parts of California (2018 growing season).”

This particular crop of lettuce was identified in the USFDA’s statement and flagged as it could have come in contact and been contaminated with E. coli O157.

Companies and retailers who are unsure if they have potentially infected products are asked to contact their supplier or industry trade group, and if they cannot determine the origin they are asked to refrain from using the lettuce.

The CFIA is now taking “additional control measures” in order to verify that products from the areas identified are not being admitted to Canada.

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The infected individuals became sick between mid-October and early November 2018. There have been a total of four cases investigated in Ontario, 17 in Quebec, and one in New Brunswick.

Eight people have been hospitalized and one suffered from hemolytic-uremic syndrome (HUS) — a severe complication of the kidneys that can result from E.coli infection.

After laboratory analysis, the genetics of this illness are reported to be linked to a previous E. coli outbreak from December 2017.

This means it’s likely the same strain of the illness causing the sickness in Canada and the US and it suggests “there may be a reoccurring source of contamination.”

People who become ill from E. coli can have a wide range of symptoms. Some may have no symptoms and some may become seriously ill and be hospitalized. Symptoms can appear within one to 10 days after infection and can include:

  • Severe stomach cramps
  • Diarrhea or bloody diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Headache
  • Little or no fever

If you have eaten this product but have no symptoms, there is no need to do anything.

However, if you become ill after consuming this lettuce:

  1. Practice good hand washing with warm water and soap to prevent the spread of illness
  2. Drink lots of clear fluids to stay hydrated
  3. Anyone who has bloody diarrhea or is concerned about their symptoms should see a health care provider immediately
  4. Antibiotics and anti-diarrhea medications should not be used to treat this infection unless prescribed by your health care provider

For more information 1-866-225-0709 or email: [email protected].

Daily Hive StaffDaily Hive Staff

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