E. coli outbreak in US, Canada may be linked to romaine lettuce

Feds are trying to get to the bottom of a risky E. coli outbreak spreading across the USA and Canada that seems tied to romaine lettuce, and food-safety experts say that until they do, it's probably smart to just stop eating it.

In the USA, infections span across 13 states from California to New Hampshire. Five people in the US have been hospitalized and one has died, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Because a USA source hasn't been identified, the CDC has been unable to issue advice on food choices, but Consumer Reports is advising people avoid romaine lettuce for the time being.

Another possibility is that the E. coli strain causing illness in the United States is actually slightly different from the strain in Canada. The most risky effect is hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a type of kidney failure.

In the meantime, Consumer Reports experts have cautioned consumers to avoid romaine lettuce until the source of the outbreak has been uncovered.

The Food and Drug Administration and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have issued warnings about the outbreak.




Health officials are warning the public about a unsafe strain of E. coli that may be linked to romaine lettuce.

The CDC stopped short of telling people to avoid romaine until it finishes its investigation into the illnesses.

So far 17 illnesses have been reported in the United States, including three in California, according to the CDC. "They can say it's romaine lettuce, but they cannot say what lettuce and from where", he said.

Canadian health authorities have identified romaine lettuce as the source of the outbreak in Canada, Consumer Reports said. It's possible that a single source of contamination - such as a contaminated water supply - could affect different food products, Chapman said.

He added that people in certain risk groups, such as young children, seniors, and people with underlying health conditions, be especially vigilant about avoiding romaine lettuce for the time being.

Williams explained that with cases "spread out all over the place" and people having to report what they ate, in many cases over a month ago, it's been hard to identify the source in Canada and the US.

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