"Even though we can't say with 100 percent certainty that romaine lettuce is the cause of the E. coli outbreak in the U.S., a greater degree of caution is appropriate given that lettuce is nearly always consumed raw", James Rogers, director of Food Safety and Research at Consumer Reports, said in a statement.
Fifty-eight people in the United States and Canada have become ill from a strain of E. coli bacteria over the past seven weeks, most likely from eating romaine lettuce, according to experts.
Boston Pizza has also discontinued the use of the greens at locations in the affected provinces.
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In the U.S., health authorities are investigating the outbreaks, but have stopped short of recommending people avoid romaine lettuce or any other food.
'Even though we can't say with 100 percent certainty that romaine lettuce is the cause of the E. coli outbreak in the USA, a greater degree of caution is appropriate given that lettuce is nearly always consumed raw, ' Director of Food Safety and Research at Consumer Reports, James Rogers said.
Although anyone can get an E. coli infection, pregnant women, those with weakened immune systems, young children and older adults are most at risk for developing serious complications. In Canada, one person has died.
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"People in these groups should be particularly vigilant about avoiding romaine lettuce", Rogers said.
Check your fridge for any romaine lettuce, including any bagged salad mixes or blends. The CDC is still collection information to determine whether there is a common food item among the sick people, including leafy greens and romaine lettuce. In the worst case scenario, exposure to E. coli can lead to kidney failure and death. There has also been one death in Canada.
In the USA, 17 illnesses across 13 states have been associated with the outbreak.
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Chapman suspects that officials will make an announcement soon about whether the US and Canadian outbreaks are indeed the same.