Consumer Reports warns against eating any romaine lettuce

Kristen Gonzales
January 5, 2018

Still, the CDC says it does not have enough information to recommend people in the USA avoid any particular food. Five people in the USA have been hospitalized and one has died, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Two patients have developed hemolytic uremic syndrome, a potentially fatal kidney complication. It said 17 people were sick in 13 states, dating back to November. But infection with the O157:H7 strain, which produces a shiga toxin, can cause severe abdominal cramps, bloody diarrhea and vomiting. So for now, Consumer Reports says people should assume that any romaine lettuce, even when sold in bags and packages, might be contaminated.

"Even if this outbreak is actually confirmed to be caused by romaine lettuce, it's important to recognize this is a highly perishable product with a limited usable shelf life and it's highly unlikely a specific affected lot would still be available for sale or in a home refrigerator with the last US illness being reported on December 8 and the last Canadian illness reported December 12", it said in a joint statement with the Produce Marketing Association and other groups.

Grocery chain Bashas' spokesperson Ashley Shick said none of the store's romaine suppliers, which are from Yuma and California, were connected to the CDC's ongoing investigation. One death has been reported.

Cara Operations Ltd. instructed its various chains with locations in those five provinces and stop serving dishes with romaine lettuce on December 27, said spokeswoman Carmen Bain.

"We're very hopeful that things are wrapping up, but we don't have enough data to say that".

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Consumer Reports says people should stop eating romaine lettuce until the cause of the outbreak is identified and the tainted product is removed from store shelves. Five people have been hospitalized, including one who died. The majority of these Canadian cases - almost three-quarters - are in females.

In the meantime, Consumer Reports experts have cautioned consumers to avoid romaine lettuce until the source of the outbreak has been uncovered. "It could be that there's a different [food] source of this exact same pathogen", he said.

"Canada has not been able to get upstream, either".

He said so far, data aren't sufficient to link the United States cases to romaine lettuce.

Anyone concerned that they might have an E. coli infection should talk to their health care provider, he said.

Other reports by TheSundaySentinel

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