Coli Outbreak 'Likely' Over; Canada Declares Romaine Lettuce Safe To Eat

Coli Outbreak 'Likely' Over; Canada Declares Romaine Lettuce Safe To Eat

"There appears to be an ongoing risk of E. coli infections associated with the consumption of romaine lettuce in Canada's eastern provinces", Canada said on December 28.

The outbreak of E. coli has made at least 17 people sick in 13 states, including a case in OH, according to the CDC.

"Leafy greens typically have a short shelf life, and since the last illness started a month ago, it is likely that contaminated leafy greens linked to this outbreak are no longer available for sale", the agency said.

Exposure to romaine lettuce has been identified as the source of the outbreak, but the cause of contamination has not been determined.

While Florida is not on the list, food safety experts at Consumer Reports highly recommend people stay away from romaine lettuce all together. One person has also died in Canada.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the total number of those infected has climbed to 24.

In the US, the FDA, which had not posted any public information about the outbreak until today, is assisting the CDC, but has virtually nothing to report.

Romaine lettuce has a shelf life of about a few days to more than a week.

CDC is not recommending that USA residents avoid any particular food given the short shelf life of leafy greens and because a specific type of leafy greens has not been identified.

Symptoms of E. coli infection include diarrhea (often bloody) and stomach cramps.

In response to the statements made January 10 by US and Canadian health officials, a coalition of produce industry associations from both countries issued guidance related to the recent outbreak.

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. The Public Health Agency of Canada began advising people in the five implicated provinces to consider not eating romaine until further notice. "We're working closely with partners to identify that source", Gottlieb said. The strain of E. coli involved in this outbreak, O157:H7, is particularly serious. Nine of those people have been hospitalized, two of whom are suffering from a form of kidney failure. If you are concerned that you have an E. coli infection, talk to your healthcare provider.

To help prevent E. coli infection, wash your hands thoroughly before and after preparing and eating food. There has been one death in California, which was previously reported as connected to the outbreak.

If you or a family member became ill with an E. coli infection or HUS after consuming food and you're interested in pursuing a legal claim, contact the Marler Clark E. coli attorneys for a free case evaluation.