PHAC is also advising Canadian consumers that they no longer need to consider not consuming Romaine lettuce. The heads have a shelf life of 7 to 10 days, while chopped or leaf lettuce products have a shelf life of 3 to 5 days.
Arizona and California produce about 90% of the lettuce and other leafy greens grown in the United States. "Canada has identified the source as romaine lettuce", says Jean Halloran, director of Food Policy Initiatives at Consumers Union, the policy and mobilization division of Consumer Reports. There has been one death, which was previously reported.
The cases in the United States are the same strain as the cases in Canada, and some of them have the same genetic fingerprint. Nine of those people have been hospitalized, two of whom are suffering from a form of kidney failure.
Preliminary testing on isolates from patient in both countries has shown the bacteria that caused the illness are related, meaning that there is likely a common source.
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"To avoid any confusion and in an abundance of caution, we have temporarily removed romaine lettuce from our restaurants in the USA and Canada", said Heidi Schauer, Wendy's spokeswoman.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the total number of those infected has climbed to 24. Illnesses started on dates from November 15 through December 12, 2017.
These seven new reports bring the total number of cases involving E. coli to 66 in the US and Canada, with two of those cases being deadly. Officials are performing whole genome sequencing (WGS) on samples of bacteria, but have not yet released that information either.
Some companies (including the fast food chain Wendy's and Compass, a food service company) have voluntarily tossed all romaine lettuce as a precautionary measure.
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Consumer Reports, on its own has issued statements warning people against eating romaine and have criticized the CDC and the US FDA for not warning people. Some individuals may develop a severe illness called hemolytic uremic syndrome, or HUS, which can be life-threatening, although most people recover in a few weeks.
"How do you know it's over?" That percentage is not significantly higher than the 46 percent of healthy people who reported eating romaine lettuce the prior week, the CDC said.
The esteemed law firm of Pritzker Hageman represents and helps people who have been sickened by contaminated food.
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