CDC: Romaine lettuce may be behind E. coli outbreak

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Not only does he advise not purchasing romaine lettuce now on grocery store shelves, he suggests consumers toss out any they have in the fridge. US officials have yet to determine that the outbreak has to do with any specific food. However, several of the United States cases have been caused by a bacterium with the same genetic "fingerprint" as the one in Canada.

Although P.E.I. was not included in the latest advisory, P.E.I.'s Chief Public Health Officer, Heather Morrison, said Islanders who want to consume romaine lettuce should make sure they are washing their lettuce thoroughly before eating it. But, so far investigators with the CDC in the USA and the Public Health Agency of Canada have found 58 people became ill after eating contaminated lettuce in the past few weeks. The Public Health Agency of Canada has reported on 41 illnesses.

28, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that 17 illnesses from E. coli infection had been reported in 13 different states: California, Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Vermont and Washington. He advises that people in these groups should be particularly vigilant about avoiding romaine lettuce. The U.S. investigators say that means the same food source is likely involved. 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.

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Consumer Reports said people should err on the side of caution and throw out romaine lettuce.

Fowlie told ABC News Thursday that the CDC is still collecting information to determine whether there is a food item in common among the sick people, including leafy greens and romaine.

According to the Arizona Department of Agriculture Leafy Green Marketing Agreement Administrator Teressa Lopez, the state is the second-largest supplier of romaine lettuce in the US behind only California. So for now, Consumer Reports says people should assume that any romaine lettuce, even when sold in bags and packages, might be contaminated. "This investigation is ongoing, and more information will be released as it becomes available". Remember that romaine may also be lurking in bags of mixed greens.

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