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On Wednesday, federal well being officers issued a warning that six Canadians had fallen sick with a pressure of E. coli that’s much like one which has sickened 149 individuals throughout the United States, and killed one.
But, officers say that there isn’t a cause Canadians ought to cease consuming romaine lettuce.
Here’s what we all know – and don’t – about Canada’s response to the outbreak.
About the circumstances
Six individuals obtained sick from this explicit pressure of E. coli, in accordance with the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC). One was from B.C., one from Alberta, two from Saskatchewan, and two from Ontario. They obtained sick between late March and mid-April.
One particular person was hospitalized. No deaths have been reported in Canada.
PHAC believes that the seemingly supply of this outbreak is romaine lettuce. This is a separate lettuce-linked outbreak from a earlier one this winter.
About the lettuce
The supply of this outbreak within the U.S., in accordance with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is likely to be lettuce from the Yuma area, which is basically in Arizona.
Two of the Canadians who have been contaminated had travelled to the U.S. and eaten lettuce there. The others had stayed in Canada, and reported consuming romaine lettuce at dwelling or in a ready salad from a retailer, quick meals outlet or at a restaurant.
However, in accordance with Dr. Howard Njoo, deputy chief public well being officer of Canada, “In this case there has been no evidence or information that we’ve received that there is contaminated lettuce found in Canada.”
He didn’t make clear how these Canadians have been contaminated in the event that they didn’t journey to the U.S. and there’s no proof of contaminated lettuce in Canada.
Canada imported 22 million kilograms of lettuce from Arizona between January and March of 2018, in accordance with information from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, although the info doesn’t say which area it got here from. The Yuma area accounts for 90 per cent of the leafy greens grown within the United States from November to March, in accordance with the native chamber of commerce.
PHAC additionally isn’t certain if the E. coli circumstances are linked to lettuce from the Yuma area, though they’ve a “similar genetic fingerprint” to the U.S. E. coli circumstances.
Additionally, mentioned Njoo, “There are individuals who were infected in Canada but there is not enough information we have to implicate any specific brands.”
Why there isn’t a recall in Canada
Without a selected model or supply, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) can’t subject a recall, Natasha Gauthier, an company spokesperson defined.
“We cannot do a recall without having identified what product needs to be recalled.”
And they gained’t subject a normal warning – reminiscent of to not eat romaine lettuce – except there’s a recall connected. “It sends a mixed message. If it’s not safe to eat, why aren’t you recalling it?”
The CDC has issued a warning like this although. On their web site, they clearly inform shoppers, “Do not eat or buy romaine lettuce unless you can confirm it is not from the Yuma growing region.”
This recommendation goes for entire lettuce, hearts of lettuce and salad mixes.
WATCH: Deputy chief public well being officer Howard Njoo says Canada hasn’t but been in a position to establish and particular manufacturers of lettuce for a attainable recall.
Is romaine lettuce suitable for eating?
Njoo says it’s.
“At the present time there is no information to indicate that it’s not safe to consume lettuce in Canada.”
Because it’s a leafy vegetable that isn’t cooked, PHAC urges Canadians to all the time wash their fingers earlier than and after dealing with romaine lettuce, take away its outer leaves, and wash it beneath operating chilly water till all seen grime has gone earlier than consuming it.
Canada has circumstances of E. coli associated to lettuce all year long, so PHAC recommends that individuals all the time take these steps, whether or not or not an outbreak is within the information.
As for lettuce from the Yuma area, “We do know from our American colleagues that the Yuma region stopped producing and distributing lettuce quite some time ago, mid-April, I believe,” mentioned Njoo. “And given the short shelf life, it’s about 21 days, the actual probability risk of any Yuma-grown lettuce being on the shelves in Canada at this point in time is quite low.”
WATCH: Should you be throwing out your Romaine lettuce?
Although he additionally believes the chance to be low, Sylvain Charlebois, a professor in meals distribution and coverage at Dalhousie University, says that he doubts many Canadians will hold consuming romaine lettuce after this warning.
“I do expect a lot of Canadian consumers to pass on romaine lettuce for a while again.”
Jeff Farber, director of the Canadian Research Institute for Food Safety on the University of Guelph, mentioned that a number of confusion may very well be averted if merchandise have been simpler to hint.
“It becomes almost impossible sometimes to find out which farm the product actually came from. It becomes very, very difficult. And unless you know exactly where the product is coming from, then it becomes very difficult for federal officials to actually issue a recall because what are they recalling?” he mentioned.
“I think we all need to do a better job in getting better trace-back information on particular products and where they’re actually – what the origin of these products actually is.”
© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.
Note: “Previously Published on: 2018-05-10 17:33:55, as ‘E. coli outbreak: Should Canadians hold consuming romaine lettuce? – National