Authorities are warning people to throw out all their romaine lettuce over E. coli concerns
Health authorities across the US and Canada are warning people everywhere to throw out their romaine lettuce, after a new E coli outbreak has begun to spread over the continent of North America.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have warned people against eating romaine lettuce of any kind until they can understand the extent of the outbreak, saying that 13 people have already been infected in the United States - with one reportedly suffering from kidney failure. So far, no deaths have been reported as yet.
The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have also joined the calls to throw out romaine lettuce, after what has been yet another outbreak of E Coli in America over the past year. In a statement to CNN, FDA Commissioner Dr Scott Gottlieb said it was "frustrating" that the true source of the E coli outbreak had not yet been pinpointed, but has "confidence that it's tied to romaine lettuce".
"Most of the romaine lettuce being harvested right now is coming from the California region, although there's some lettuce coming in from Mexico," explained Dr Gottlieb. Meanwhile, the CDC have confirmed that an investigation into romaine lettuce is "ongoing". They also confirmed that "all types or uses" of romaine lettuce needed to be thrown out.
"Consumers who have any type of romaine lettuce in their home should not eat it and should throw it away, even if some of it was eaten and no one has gotten sick. This advice includes all types or uses of romaine lettuce, such as whole heads of romaine, hearts of romaine, and bags and boxes of precut lettuce and salad mixes that contain romaine, including baby romaine, spring mix, and Caesar salad.
If you do not know if the lettuce is romaine or whether a salad mix contains romaine, do not eat it and throw it away. Wash and sanitize drawers or shelves in refrigerators where romaine was stored."
Although there was an outbreak of E coli related to romaine lettuce earlier this year, Dr Gottlieb explained that this strain of E coli was completely related to the summer outbreak, instead saying that an outbreak that occurred around this time in 2017 is directly related to the spread of E coli that has currently got 32 reported cases.
"The strain in 2017 is the same as the strain in this fall 2018 outbreak, and the time of year is exactly the same. So It's likely associated with end of season harvest in California. This year, we're a month earlier, so we're earlier in the process, earlier in the throes of an outbreak. So we're able to actually get real-time information and conduct effective trace back and isolate what the source is."
Symptoms of E coli, according to the CDC, include watery or bloody diarrhea, fever, abdominal cramps, nausea and vomiting. They usually begin around three to four days after consuming contaminated food.