Coli outbreak possibly linked to romaine lettuce in California, FDA official says

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But in Canada, the country's public health and food inspection agencies stopped short of insisting on its removal, despite it being linked to the illnesses of 19 people in Ontario, Quebec and New Brunswick - of whom six required hospitalization.

California has had 10 cases of the E. coli virus; other US states dealing with the outbreak include Michigan, Connecticut, Illinois, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Wisconsin. "If you look at a package of lettuce, it's most likely going to have the address of the company on the back; not the location of the growing fields", Gottlieb said.

"There are precautions to take on a regular basis when they are consuming any kind of lettuce".

The outbreak was announced earlier this week, and as of November 23 it has sickened 32 people across 11 states, hospitalizing 11 of those people.

Retailers and restaurants should not serve or sell any imported from the United States of America and Canada until more information becomes available.

In Laredo, the Health Department has checked with all retailers and are informing restaurants to remove all romaine lettuce.

"Most E. coli strains are harmless to humans, but some varieties cause illness".

"I would say the vast majority of operators are either waiting to see what comes out from Health Canada the next couple days, and not serving it", said Restaurants Canada Atlantic vice-president Luc Erjavec.

"Romaine lettuce grown in a safe environment would not have any problems". They also reported more illnesses in Canada. This time, though, the grocery stores and the suppliers are taking the hit. OPH says the lettuce connection is only thing so far that the two cases share in common.

Whitaker said the industry group told members they should cooperate with the FDA and stop supplying romaine lettuce, especially because people have been told to stop buying and eating it. Typical symptoms include stomach cramps, diarrhea and vomiting.

"Most people with an [E. coli] infection start feeling sick three to four days after eating or drinking something that contains the bacteria".

Romaine from that region was being pulled from the shelves of stores to reduce the risk of infection of customers.