Health department alert over romaine lettuce

Romaine lettuce

Romaine lettuce

Jason McLinton, vice-president of grocery division and regulatory affairs for the Retail Council, said the reason so many retailers were hesitant to remove romaine lettuce is because the government had only issued a consumer warning and not an official recall regarding the produce.

A Department of Health spokeswoman said: “Locally, [the Department of] Environmental Health will be contacting food suppliers to follow up.

Below you can find a list of foods that have been recently recalled due to E. coli and salmonella concerns.

In a news release posted on its website, Loblaw also said its stores would provide "a full refund" if customers returned the products.

Public health investigators are using the PulseNet system to identify illnesses that may be part of this outbreak.

The blanket warning to nix all romaine until further notice is frustrating to hydroponic growers like Gotham Greens, which grows, harvests and packs a variety of lettuces, including romaine, in controlled greenhouses in NY and Chicago.

The alert comes after 32 people in 11 states, plus another 18 people in Canada, were reported infected with E. coli between October 8 and 31 and romaine was found to be the likely culprit.

Antibiotics should not be used in treating E. coli O157 bacterial infections, said Dr. Isaac Bogoch, an infectious disease specialist at Toronto General Hospital.

News of another E. coli outbreak tied to leafy greens is "really disappointing" when proper tracing of last year's contamination, with the identical DNA footprint, might have prevented it, Sorscher said. "They are not actually coming down with a decision, they are saying 'hey, be careful". Most cases are mild, so don't panic. "If antibiotics are used with this particular type of infection, what can happen is it can trigger a pretty nasty cascade within the body that can result in kidney failure and kidney damage". Most forms of the bacteria are harmless. "Most of the romaine lettuce being harvested right now is coming from the California region, although there's some lettuce coming in from Mexico".

The agency said before their illnesses occurred, the people affected reported eating romaine lettuce at home, in prepared salads purchased at grocery stores and from menu items ordered at restaurants and fast food chains.

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