A month after last illness reported, health agency says romaine is OK again

OTTAWA — With no new cases of E. coli connected to romaine lettuce detected since mid-November, the leafy green is probably safe to eat again, the Public Health Agency of Canada reported Monday.

In the month before that, 29 people got sick from the bacteria in the lettuce, mostly in Quebec. A handful became ill in Ontario and New Brunswick, and three in British Columbia after travelling.

The tainted lettuce seems to have come from three counties in California and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency has banned imports of lettuce grown there. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration says 59 people have been sickened in the same outbreak in the United States.

E. coli, which is present in feces and sometimes in raw meat, can cause serious digestive problems, including cramps and bloody diarrhea. The government said nobody has died in the outbreak, but 10 people were hospitalized in Canada and two have had severe and lasting complications.

The bacteria in this outbreak is a genetic match for E. coli involved in a similar outbreak in 2017, the health agency reported.

“This tells us that the same strain of E. coli is causing illness in Canada and the U.S. as was seen in 2017 and it suggests there may be a reoccurring source of contamination. Investigators are using evidence collected in both outbreaks to help identify the possible cause of the contamination in these events,” the agency said.

Investigators still don’t know exactly how the lettuce became contaminated, but the agency said people got sick eating it at home and at restaurants. Some people bought whole heads of lettuce; others got it in salad mixes.

“Retailers and industry partners continue to bring romaine lettuce into the Canadian marketplace from growing regions not associated with the outbreak and to help consumers easily identify the origin of romaine lettuce in the Canadian marketplace,” the public health agency said.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The Bank of Canada building is seen in Ottawa, Wednesday, April 15, 2020. The Bank of Canada will release its updated outlook for the country’s pandemic-plagued economy. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Bank of Canada set to release updated outlook for economy, inflation

More detailed analysis of forecast to be provided

Ecologist Tony Blake was among several dozen area residents who participated in Tuesday’s public hearing on the future Molly Banister Drive extension. Blake argued for preserving trail connectedness and the wildlife corridor. (Photo by LANA MICHELIN/Advocate staff).
Molly Banister road extension stays

A nearly nine-hour public hearing ends with a 5-3 vote for keeping the road alignment

Alice Kolisnyk, deputy director of the Red Deer Food Bank, says the agency expects an increase in demand as the COVID-19 pandemic continues. Every new subscription to the Red Deer Advocate includes a $50 donation to the food bank. (Photo by BYRON HACKETT/Advocate Staff)
Support the food bank with a subscription to the Red Deer Advocate

The community’s most vulnerable members are always in need of a hand,… Continue reading

Los Angeles Dodgers celebrate after defeating the Tampa Bay Rays 3-1 to win the baseball World Series in Game 6 Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
Fitting finale: Dodgers win title, Turner tests positive

Turner returns to the diamond about an hour after the game

Vancouver rock act Mother Mother. (Photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS)
TikTok fans give Vancouver rock act Mother Mother a sudden boost in popularity

TORONTO — Ryan Guldemond says he believes luck, good timing and “a… Continue reading

Los Angeles Dodgers' Mookie Betts celebrates after a home run against the Tampa Bay Rays during the eighth inning in Game 6 of the baseball World Series Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)
Best Betts: Dodgers win first World Series title since 1988

Best Betts: Dodgers win first World Series title since 1988

Wade Sira is shown in a handout photo. Sira, the leader of Saskatchewan's pro-independence Buffalo Party, says he's extremely happy with last night's provincial election results, even though no candidates clinched a seat.THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Wade Sira MANDATORY CREDIT
Buffalo Party’s strong showing in Saskatchewan vote a warning to Moe: experts

Buffalo Party’s strong showing in Saskatchewan vote a warning to Moe: experts

FILE - In this Sept. 28, 2019, file photo, Christian Coleman, of the United States, celebrates after crossing the line to win the gold medal in men's 100 meter final at the World Athletics Championships in Doha, Qatar. (AP Photo/Nick Didlick)
World champion Coleman banned 2 yrs; to miss Tokyo Olympics

World champion Coleman banned 2 yrs; to miss Tokyo Olympics

Most Read