Stay Away From Romaine Lettuce, Consumer Reports Advises

Romaine lettuce is likely behind nearly 60 illnesses so far

Thus far, health officials in the United States and Canada have avoided releasing information on where the potentially contaminated lettuce came from.

The latest foodborne illness outbreak has caused the deaths of two people and made almost 60 people sick in the United States and Canada.

Meanwhile, the Canadian government has found sufficient evidence to link its 41 illnesses to romaine lettuce and has advised residents in its eastern provinces to consider another leafy green.

In the US, government health officials are investigating the outbreaks, but have stopped short of recommending people avoid romaine lettuce or any other food.

Health officials said a similar strain of E. coli caused an outbreak in Canada.

As of Friday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had the following message posted on their website: "Because we have not identified a source of the infections, CDC is unable to recommend whether USA residents should avoid a particular food".

The CDC, several states, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration are investigating the outbreak.

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The thirteen states affected by E. Coli are California, New York, Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Nebraska, New Hampshire, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Vermont and Washington State. The CDC has identified 17 cases of illness.

Romaine lettuce is to blame. The one death in the USA was in California.

The outbreak started on dates from November 15 through December 8, according to the CDC.

This particular strain of E coli produces a toxin that can lead to serious illness or death.

Marler also noted that it's perplexing that the CDC hasn't specified romaine lettuce as the culprit. With several documented cases and multiple deaths already resulting from the E. coli spread, you can be sure that food safety experts are attempting to nail down the companies that are producing and selling the unsafe veggies, and more specific information is likely to follow in the coming days.

Consumer reports recommend avoiding lettuce altogether, but local expert, Paul Brierley says there is no need to just yet.

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