Link to E. coli doubted
Evidence doesn’t show tainted lettuce came from California
Source of Article: http://www.capitalpress.info/main.asp?SectionID=67&SubSectionID=616&ArticleID=45335&TM=78143.51
No California lettuce growers or shippers
have been named as the source of the iceberg lettuce that caused 38 cases
of E.coli poisoning in Michigan since Sept. 1.
There is even a question of whether the lettuce came from California. A Detroit-based produce
shipper, Aunt Mid's, has been cleared as a source
of the outbreak.
"There's been lots of speculation, but the source is unknown at this
time," Scott Horsfall, CEO of the Leafy
Green Marketing Agreement, said Tuesday, Oct. 14.
Paul Simonds, communications manager for Western
Growers Association, said there have been no positive tests to date and the
only evidence linking California
to the illness is shipping dates from the distributor.
According to the Michigan Department of Agriculture, the lettuce supplied
to Aunt Mid's prior to the outbreak was
identified as being from California.
As of Tuesday, Oct. 14, no suppliers from California had been identified. Ken
August from the California Department of Public Health said the source is
still unknown and there is no confirmation that the lettuce that caused the
outbreak came from California.
An investigation is ongoing, he said.
There have been no adverse effects on lettuce sales since the outbreak was
reported, Simonds said.
department of health reports all confirmed cases of E. coli 0157:H7 had the
same genetic fingerprint. Additionally, nine cases in Illinois
and three from the Canadian province
of Ontario have been
identified with the same genetic strain of E coli.
A product trace-back by the Michigan Department of Agriculture found Aunt Mid's processed the lettuce supplied to the outbreak
locations. Aunt Mid's washed, cut and bagged the
lettuce implicated in the outbreak. On their website this week the company
reported their packing facility had been cleared as a source of the E. coli
outbreak. There was no mention of California
The lettuce was in food service bags and sold to restaurants and
Jill Holton, a spokeswoman for the Michigan Department of Agriculture, said
the agency has been working closely with the California Department of
Public Health to track down the source of the contamination.
Cecilia Parsons is a staff
writer based in Ducor.