Health Care

FDA believes California lettuce sparked E-Coli outbreak

FDA believes California lettuce sparked E-Coli outbreak”

Last week, the FDA said the strain of E. coli O157:H7 causing the current outbreak is genetically link to the strain the caused an outbreak last fall in the USA and Canada Twenty-five people got sick - including one death and two incidents of hemolytic uremic syndrome - in 15 states.

This most recent confirmed case is in an adult under the age of 65.

Romaine lettuce entering the market will now be labeled with information about when and where it was harvested, according to Gottlieb's statement.

At this time, there are no known common exposure settings for the two confirmed cases in Ottawa.

If it's from the winter-growing regions of the US - the California desert region of the Imperial Valley, the desert region of Arizona in and around Yuma and Florida - it's fine, since people started getting sick before these regions started shipping out their product. The FDA last week advised anyone who had romaine lettuce in their homes or businesses to withdraw and destroy the leafy greens. "One outcome could be to extend the commitment for labeling for origin and date of harvest to other leafy greens".

Robert Whitaker, chief science officer of the Produce Marketing Association, said labeling for romaine could help limit the scope of future alerts and rebuild public trust after other outbreaks.

As of Monday, the FDA said the outbreak has resulted in 43 people becoming ill in 12 states, with the last reported illness onset date on October 31.

Currently, per FDA standards, irrigation water doesn't have to be tested for risky pathogens such as E. coli. "Since, then harvesting of romaine lettuce from this region has ended for the year".

At least 22 people in Ontario, Quebec, and New Brunswick have been sickened in the outbreak.

Leafy greens were also blamed for an E. coli outbreak previous year.

Canadian officials are advising the food industry and importers not to import romaine from the California region identified by the FDA. "The question now is, can we find it?"

"The task force will also examine information from this outbreak to identify measures that led to its occurrence and how to prevent ongoing safety problems with romaine lettuce", Gottlieb said. Steps include expanding buffer zones between cattle lots and produce fields. Another possibility, she said, is that winds blew dust from the cattle lot onto produce. The FDA's Gottlieb has said the leading suspect is contaminated canal water used by multiple farms. Compared with iceberg lettuce, she noted its leaves are more open, thus exposing more surface area. Canada linked its cases to romaine lettuce specifically, but U.S. investigators said only that the origin was in leafy greens.

But Lytton also noted the inherent risk of produce, which is grown in open fields and eaten raw.

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