Officials warn about eating romaine lettuce amid E. coli outbreak

Five people have been hospitalized, including one who died.

Consumer Reports pressured the CDC and FDA to do more to protect shoppers, but the produce was still on USA grocery store shelves Thursday.

The CDC said Thursday that it is investigating 17 E. coli cases in 13 states reported from November 15-Dec.

There were 41 cases of E. coli under investigation in total in Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Newfoundland and Labrador as of December 28, according to a statement from Public Health Agency of Canada.

Loblaws Superstores said that since the CFIA, Health Canada and the Public Health Agency have not announced a recall for romaine lettuce products in Canada, it has not stopped selling it in stores.

"CDC is still collecting information to determine whether there is a food item in common among sick people, including leafy greens and romaine". Though U.S. health officials are investigating the cause of the outbreak, they have not officially identified lettuce or any other food as the source. In Canada, there have been 41 cases reported and one person died.

Jean Halloran, Director of Food Policy Initiatives at Consumers Union, the policy and mobilization division of Consumer Reports, said, "The FDA should follow the lead of the Canadian government and immediately warn the public about this risk". However, Sobeys stores have started selling romaine lettuce again after tests by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency came back negative for E. coli.

"People usually get sick from E. coli O157:H7 three to four days after eating food contaminated with the germ". In the USA, the infections have occurred in 13 states (California, Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Vermont, and Washington state). Health officials assess all of these data to try to find the likely source of the outbreak.

He said the longer it takes to pin down the source of adulteration, the more hard it will become over time, given that romaine is a perishable item.

It can take weeks to track down the source of a food poisoning outbreak. In the United States, the illness has occurred in 13 states, including California. "People in these groups should be particularly vigilant about avoiding romaine lettuce", Rogers said.

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