Romaine lettuce might be the culprit of a recent E. coli outbreak, but the CDC says it can't issue the same kind of advisory unofficially sent out by Consumer Reports. The information about this outbreak has not been updated by government officials since December 28, 2017.
The outbreak of E. coli has made at least 17 people sick in 13 states, including a case in OH, according to the CDC.
These seven new reports bring the total number of cases involving E. coli to 66 in the USA and Canada, with two of those cases being deadly. In the United States, 17 people are sick. In Canada there are 42 victims across five provinces.
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. "Among the 18 ill people for whom CDC has information, nine were hospitalized, including one person in California who died".
This infection can sometimes develop into a complication called hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), which is a type of kidney failure.
Numerous sick people reported eating romaine lettuce in various forms from grocery stores, restaurants and other locations.
While Florida is not on the list, food safety experts at Consumer Reports highly recommend people stay away from romaine lettuce all together.
The CDC believes the USA and Canadian cases could be related, but isn't ready to issue a a specific warning about romaine. Of 13 people interviewed, all 13 reported eating leafy greens.
Romaine lettuce has a shelf life of about a few days to more than a week.
In a January 8 letter to CDC Director Brenda Fitzgerald, DeLauro didn't mince words: "CDC's stunning lack of guidance to consumers regarding this outbreak is unconscionable".
No recalls have been initiated, but some retailers and restaurants temporarily pulled romaine lettuce from shelves and menus.
However, Consumer Reports is urging everyone to not eat romaine lettuce. Today the Canadian officials revealed that all food samples tested negative. She said it's still unclear whether FDA is intensifying testing of USA and imported products in the wake of Canada's findings.
While FDA has been largely silent about the outbreak while the investigation continues, FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb tweeted about the outbreak this week. 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.
The CDC and the Food and Drug Administration are trying to pinpoint the exact region of where the strain of E.coli is coming from and if romaine lettuce is the source. "Health officials need to take more aggressive steps to protect the public".
"This is a unsafe strain of E. coli that can cause severe illness and even death", said Halloran's statement.
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