Hold the Romaine Lettuce

Alicia Farmer
January 11, 2018

In Canada, health officials now say the outbreak appears to be over.

Even if the outbreak was caused by lettuce, it's unlikely the perishable product would still be available for sale or in a home refrigerator as the last illness onset date was reported to be December 8, the groups said.

Caesar salads are off the menu at Wendy's for the time being as U.S. Center for Disease Control investigates an outbreak of E. coli infections that might be linked to eating romaine lettuce.

This does not sit well with DeLauro who asked Fitzgerald a series of questions, such as when the first E. coli infection was reported in the USA, when CDC began investigating the outbreak, and what is "CDC's justification for waiting nearly a month and a half before publicly confirming the outbreak?" Of 13 people interviewed, all 13 reported eating leafy greens. The largest foodservice company, Compass Group, has already suspended using romaine lettuce in all operations until CDC provides more information, Halloran said.

Many of them were sickened weeks ago, and it can be hard to recall every food you consumed after so much time has passed, said Ian Williams, chief of the CDC's Outbreak Response and Prevention Branch.

Consumer Reports recommended that consumers avoid romaine lettuce until the outbreak cause was determined. Today the Canadian officials revealed that all food samples tested negative.

While FDA has been largely silent about the outbreak while the investigation continues, FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb tweeted about the outbreak this week.

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In the USA, the FDA, which had not posted any public information about the outbreak until today, is assisting the CDC, but has virtually nothing to report. While the lettuce that may have caused the illnesses is no longer on the market, we do not know where the products were sold, or where the leafy green was grown, harvested, or processed.

Symptoms of E.coli usually start within three to 10 days after consumption.

The Public Health Agency of Canada reported 1 death and at least 40 sickened from a similar strain of e. coli.

There is a very different view at Consumers Union, which is the policy and mobilization division of Consumer Reports.

Williams said Consumer Reports acted on its own to tell readers not to eat romaine after an interview with Connecticut Rep. Rosaw DeLauro, a Democrat who serves on a food safety subcommittee in the House and is concerned about the lack of response at the CDC. Still, officials in the USA have not officially named romaine lettuce as the source of this outbreak.

"This is a risky 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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