Inspectorate 'gathering more info' on romaine lettuce alert

Be vigilant about romaine lettuce from the US AVA

Don't eat romaine lettuce: Health Canada

"If you look at the map of illness onsets from previous year, it is very similar to this recent outbreak....because these two are related, we have really more clues to go by now in terms of where people got sick and the timing involved", Horsfall said.

Large chain grocers such as Whole Foods Market, owned by Amazon.com Inc, and nationwide salad retailers such as Chopt and Fresh & Co told Reuters they stopped selling romaine as soon as the warning was issued.

The Ministry of Health is advising consumers not to eat romaine lettuce originating from the United States.

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Canada's public health agency said the cases were reported between mid-October and early November and those affected were between the ages of five and 93. One suffered from hemolytic-uremic syndrome, a severe complication that can result from an E. coli infection. Nothing definitive yet, but the early betting is that it came from California's Monterey County or the surrounding growing season, where the romaine lettuce growing season is in full swing.

It has enhanced surveillance of romaine from the two countries at retail level.

It appears that this particular strain of E. coli matches what was found in patients from a 2017 outbreak in leafy greens. "Most of the romaine lettuce being harvested right now is coming from the California region, although there's some lettuce coming in from Mexico".

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In the meantime, a quick scan of several major supermarkets on Wednesday showed that most still had the lettuce on their shelves, while at least one - Cost Pro in Madame Estate - was not taking any chances and was removing romaine lettuce from its shelves.

An Ottawa resident is among the 18 infected by an E. coli outbreak in Ontario and Quebec, connected to the consumption of romaine lettuce.

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In 2018, 98 percent of all romaine imports totaling 4,921 metric tons originated in the USA, according to FDA data. For other consumers, the health agency has provided tips on lowering your risk of illness, including washing your hands and the produce thoroughly and discarding the outer leaves of fresh lettuce.

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