Romaine from California
May be Tied to Canada
Source of Article: http://www.newsinferno.com/archives/4257
Published: Monday, November 24th, 2008
it cannot confirm a source at this time, ThePacker.com, has issued an article
stating that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and
the California Department of Public Health officials are looking into
possible links to an E. coli
outbreak in Ontario.
The two groups are allegedly conducting farm investigations and according to
ThePacker.com article, Romaine lettuce may be
at the root of the contamination.
“We are following up on information from Canada about
a potential link to romaine,” Ken August, a
public information officer for the California
Department of Public Health, told ThePacker.com. As of last week,
30 confirmed cases of E. coli O157:H7 were a match to the DNA fingerprint
involved in the outbreak. At that time, cases were only seen in
Niagara, Halton, Guelph,
and Waterloo,ThePacker.com said.
As of last week, another confirmed case turned up
and there remain another 123 cases requiring testing, the website said.
The report also noted that a variety of restaurants underwent
testing—Jonathan’s Family Restaurant, Burlington; M.T. Bellies Tap, Welland; Little Red Rooster, Niagara-on-the-Lake; Pita Pit
at the University of Guelph; and St. Mary’s High School cafeteria—and tested
negative for E. coli. The case that just turned up in Hamilton was not associated with any of the
restaurants or cafeterias “other area health agencies had previously identified,”
Chris Mackie, associate medical officer of health
for Hamilton Public Health Services, said the woman who reported the case in Hamilton reported
eating bagged lettuce. “It seems like more of these people are reporting
bagged lettuce, but we haven’t gotten any lab confirmed,” he told
ThePacker.com. “In (the Hamilton
woman’s) case, she doesn’t eat a lot of meat, she’s almost vegetarian, so it
points to the lettuce,” Mackie added. However, Mackie also said that
lettuce is just one of several food products being tested.
E. Coli O157:H7 is one of hundreds of strains of
the bacterium Escherichia coli. Although most strains are harmless, this
particular strain produces a powerful toxin that can cause severe illness and
even death. Meat can become contaminated during slaughter, and
organisms can be accidentally mixed into meat when it is ground; bacteria
present on the cow’s udders or on dairy equipment may get into raw milk; in a
petting zoo, E. coli O157:H7 can contaminate the ground, railings, feed bins,
and fur of the animals; and E. coli has been known to taint produce and
nonmeat food products.