Published: Thu, January 11, 2018
Health | By Jay Jacobs

Coli Outbreak From Salad Grows As CDC Reports 24 People Infected

Coli Outbreak From Salad Grows As CDC Reports 24 People Infected

In the USA, nine people were hospitalized due to the infection and two people were diagnosed with a type of kidney failure called hemolytic uremic syndrome. Because leafy greens tend to have a short shelf life-and because the last known illness related to the outbreak occurred last month-it is likely that the contaminated food that's causing illness is no longer available in retail stores or foodservice establishments.

Numerous sick people reported eating romaine lettuce in various forms from grocery stores, restaurants and other locations.

The cases in the United States are the same strain as the cases in Canada and some of them have the same genetic fingerprint.

Of 13 sick people interviewed, all reported eating a type of vegetable with leafy leaves, some ate romaine lettuce, but health officials said that "no common supplier, distributor or retailer of green leafy vegetables has been identified".

Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-NY), a microbiologist, affirmed DeLauro's sentiments in a statement to Consumer Reports: "The delay in CDC or FDA providing updated information to consumers is very disappointing.Timely information is critical to avoid potentially contaminated foods and I call on FDA to take all necessary steps to protect public health". Sometimes outbreaks end before enough information is gathered to identify the likely source. Consumer Reports recommended that consumers avoid romaine lettuce until the outbreak cause was determined.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency says it has completed its food safety investigation and all samples tested were negative for E. coli. Forty-six percent reported eating romaine lettuce the week before they were interviewed.

"The industry associations are committed to working with government agencies in both the United States and Canada to assist with the ongoing investigations".

CDC and FDA will continue to update the public as more information on the outbreak source is uncovered.

There is a very different view at Consumers Union, which is the policy and mobilization division of Consumer Reports. Some companies (the fast food chain Wendy's and Compass-the country's largest food service company) have voluntarily withdrawn all romaine lettuce for the time being, though there is no indication that these companies were connected to the outbreak.

"This is a unsafe strain of E. coli that can cause severe illness and even death", said Halloran's statement. "In order to ensure that this threat to consumers' health won't continue or happen again, the government needs to identify the source".

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