Coli fears reported in US, Canada

Coli fears reported in US, Canada

You've probably heard by now that 41 people in Canada have contracted E. coli from what possibly could have been contaminated romaine lettuce. States with active outbreaks of the bacteria in question are California, Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Virginia and Washington.

However, James E. Rogers, Ph.D., Director of Food Safety Research and Testing at Consumer Reports, cautions that the CDC's position on this could give consumers a false sense of security. Attorney Fred Pritzker and his team recently won $7.5 million for young client whose kidneys failed after he developed hemolytic uremic syndrome because of an E. coli infection.

This does not sit well with DeLauro who asked Fitzgerald a series of questions, such as when the first E. coli infection was reported in the US, when CDC began investigating the outbreak, and what is "CDC's justification for waiting nearly a month and a half before publicly confirming the outbreak?" Because of this, the CDC is not recommending that USA residents avoid any type of particular food. Illness onsets among reported cases occurred in late Nov & early Dec, so the source of these cases likely is no longer on the market.

However, Consumer Reports is urging everyone to not eat romaine lettuce. This means it's likely that there's a source of the outbreak that both countries shared, according to a press release issued by the agency when the outbreak was first announced in December. Neither the CDC nor Canadian health officials have provided any information on where the romaine lettuce potentially involved in the illnesses was grown or processed, so for now, consumers should assume that any romaine lettuce, even when sold in bags and packages, could possibly be contaminated, Rogers said.

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By Dec. 28, there were more than 40 cases under investigation in Canada and one reported death. To date, FDA said it has not identified a common or single point of origin for the food that made people ill. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said in a statement there was "likely" no longer a concern.

"People in these groups should be particularly vigilant about avoiding romaine lettuce", Rogers said. In the United States, there are 24 confirmed victims across 15 states. Holidays can increase this delay.

You can protect yourself by washing your hands thoroughly before and after preparing or eating food.

The symptoms of E. coli infections include severe stomach cramps, diarrhea - often bloody and vomiting.

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