E. Coli Contaminated Lettuce Came From California

By Dianna Cooper
22:00, October 12th 2008




Source of Article: http://www.efluxmedia.com/news_E_Coli_Contaminated_Lettuce_Came_From_California_26400.html





Authorities claim that lettuce suspected in recent E. coli outbreak that sickened 36 people in Michigan came from California.

Last month, the Michigan Department of Health said the number of E. coli bacteria cases linked to iceberg lettuce topped 26. These individuals got the same strain of the bacteria. Of that number, nine were students at Michigan State University and five others were inmates at the Lenawee County Jail.

Escherichia coli is a dangerous strain responsible for many human illnesses. It can lead to ailments such as bloody diarrhea, liver and kidney damage and sometimes can even cause death.

Health officials still dont know in which part of the State of California the lettuce originated. Nonetheless, they say a number of the cases might be linked to industrial-sized packages of iceberg lettuce that has been sold to eateries and institutions by Detroit-based Aunt Mid's Produce Co. The company has consequently stopped the plant distribution, although tests havent revealed any contamination.

According to Bob Perkins, executive director of the Monterey County Farm Bureau, the month of September is the most prolific period for Salinas Valley lettuce growers. "That's when our growers are very busy," he said. "If it's California bagged lettuce, there's a real probability that it will be tied to our area, or to somebody that we know."

Regardless of the place the culprit turns out to have come from, consumer trust will remain shaken. This is a problem that has affected our industry, if nothing else, in costs and practices, and we're going to have to be eternally vigilant," said Dennis Donohue, president of the Grower-Shipper Association of the Central Coast.



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