Coli Outbreak From Salad Grows As CDC Reports 24 People Infected

Outbreak of E. Coli Linked To Romaine Lettuce ‘Appears To Be Over

Outbreak of E. Coli Linked To Romaine Lettuce ‘Appears To Be Over

Of those, one person died while 17 others were hospitalized.

On Monday, Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro sent a letter to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), asking for more information about this outbreak. Canada pointed to romaine lettuce as the source of its outbreak.

"Even though we can't say with 100 percent certainty that romaine lettuce is the cause of the E. coli outbreak in the USA, a greater degree of caution is appropriate given that lettuce is nearly always consumed raw", James Rogers, director of food safety and research at Consumer Reports, said in a press release.

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The Public Health Agency of Canada says the E. coli outbreak connected to romaine lettuce looks to be over.

Preliminary testing on isolates from patient in both countries has shown the bacteria that caused the illness are related, meaning that there is likely a common source. "We think it's important to avoid eating romaine until the cause of this outbreak is determined", said Jean Halloran, Consumer Reports Food Policy Expert.

Nevertheless, the short shelf life of salads may mean the outbreak isn't likely to get worse; the people affected got sick in mid-November and early December. Public health officials identified new cases in Pennsylvania, California, Maryland, New Jersey and Indiana.

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"To avoid any confusion and in an abundance of caution, we have temporarily removed romaine lettuce from our restaurants in the USA and Canada", said Heidi Schauer, Wendy's spokeswoman.

However, Consumer Reports is urging everyone to not eat romaine lettuce. Lettuce can also be contaminated by bacteria during and after harvest. Some individuals may develop a severe illness called hemolytic uremic syndrome, or HUS, which can be life-threatening, although most people recover in a few weeks.

The fact that lettuce can come into contact with poop at all should really be enough to convince you to always follow safe food handling practices, which include washing your hands regularly and rinsing your fruits and vegetables under running water.

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Wendy's has not traced any E. coli infections to its customers and hasn't seen any issues with its supply chain, but decided not to take any risks.

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