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Coli Cases Identified: Consumer Reports Says Romaine Still a Risk to Eat

Coli Cases Identified: Consumer Reports Says Romaine Still a Risk to Eat

Coli Cases Identified: Consumer Reports Says Romaine Still a Risk to Eat

Canadian officials said today an E. coli outbreak linked to romaine lettuce is over, but USA officials are continuing to investigate the deadly foodborne illness outbreak that they believe is linked to leafy greens.

Federal health officials reported seven additional cases of E. coli illness Wednesday in a deadly E. coli outbreak that has now struck 15 USA states.

"The likely source of the outbreak in the United States appears to be leafy greens, but officials have not specifically identified a type of leafy greens eaten by people who became ill", the CDC said Wednesday.

Consumer Reports warned last week that we should be avoiding romaine lettuce, but the Centers for Disease Control says it doesn't have enough data to support focusing only on romaine.

However, Consumer Reports is urging everyone to not eat romaine lettuce. One person has also died in Canada.

Last week, the CDC said it was eyeing leafy greens as the possible culprit and, this week, seem to be still looking for the source as the outbreak investigation continues.

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.

The CDC, for its part, says that it hasn't yet identified the type of leafy green involved and that it's investigation is continuing. They include severe stomach cramps, diarrhea and vomiting. Based on this information, US health officials concluded that ill people in this outbreak were not more likely than healthy people to have eaten romaine lettuce. Two people developed hemolytic uremic syndrome, a type of kidney failure.

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"Whole genome sequencing is being performed on samples of bacteria making people sick in the United States to give us information about whether these illnesses are related to the illnesses in Canada", the CDC said in a statement.

He said the illness onsets "occurred in late Nov & early Dec, so the source of these cases likely is no longer on the market". People usually get sick from E. coli O157:H7 three to four days after eating food contaminated with the germ.

In all, 42 people, from five provinces, became ill, according to Public Health Agency Canada. At least 41 people were sickened in that country, with one death.

To help prevent E. coli infection, wash your hands thoroughly before and after preparing and eating food.

While many people associate E. coli and other foodborne illnesses with meat, in fact they often spread through contaminated produce.

If you are concerned that you might have an E. coli infection, talk to your health care provider.

For the record, symptoms of E. coli begin two to eight days after consuming the bacteria, notes CNN.

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