Health Care

NEW E. Coli Warning Continues for Romain Lettuce in Province

Because a specific source can't be determined, the agency will not issue a recall.

Quebec and Newfoundland and Labrador have each reported 13 cases, Ontario has had 8, New Brunswick five and Nova Scotia one.

He says it's unusual for an outbreak to last more than a week without a recall, suggesting better traceability systems for produce are needed to pinpoint the cause. "I would say the weakest aspect of our food safety system is traceability". Most people with an E. coli infection will become ill for a few days, then fully recover.

He also noted that E. coli contamination in lettuce is particularly worrying since lettuce is rarely cooked, "so the risks are significant", he said. Fruits and vegetables can become contaminated if they come into contact with the feces from infected animals.

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Sobeys Inc. says it has temporarily stopped the sale of all romaine lettuce products across its national store network. Most E. coli strains are harmless to humans, but some varietys cause illness.

The Public Health Agency of Canada has not ordered a recall of romaine, but Sobeys said it chose to pull the lettuce from its shelves nevertheless and will be following updates on the outbreak closely.

"These illnesses indicate that contaminated romaine lettuce may still be on the market", it added.

- Use warm water and soap to wash all utensils, countertops and cutting boards before and after handling lettuce to avoid cross-contamination.

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