Public Health Agency of Canada: Romaine lettuce now safe to eat

In Canada, the outbreak of E. coli infections linked to romaine lettuce appears to be over. No new illnesses were reported since mid-November, according to the Public Health Agency. As of Dec. 24, the agency is no longer advising residents of Ontario, Quebec and New Brunswick to avoid eating romaine lettuce and salad mixes containing romaine lettuce.

Canadians have been avoiding, not just romaine, but other lettuce products because of fear of E. coli O157:H7, which can be spread to lettuce through contact with feces of cattle and poultry. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency says food contaminated with E. coli O157:H7 may not look or smell spoiled, but can still make you sick.

Although the Canadian outbreak is over, the U.S. outbreak is still ongoing and the agency warns Canadians who are travelling to the U.S., or who shop for groceries across the border to follow recommendations from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.

There were 29 confirmed cases of E. coli illness investigated between mid-October and mid-November 2018 in Canada.

The CFIA says only romaine lettuce was involved and only lettuce harvested in the Central Coast growing regions of northern and central California. Most lettuce currently on grocery shelves is from different regions, it says. Canadian-grown lettuce was not contaminated. 


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