After E. Coli Outbreak, Consumer Reports Warns Against Romaine Lettuce

Since the fall of November, many people have became ill in the United States and Canada from E. Coli, which is an infection. Statistically from the 61 patients who are sick from this disease, two are already dead. In north America many households are worried and scared from the strain of this bacteria, which is live threatening, because many experts claimed that it can be developed from eating regularly romaine lettuce.

What’s the main cause of E. Coli?

This bacteria, called E. Coli, mostly lives in animals, cattle and the intestines of poultry. So, the real question is, if this bacteria is an animal bacteria that lives inside them, how do humans get affected by it? Well, mostly this bacteria is developed when someone consumes raw vegetables or fruits, which have been in direct contact with some animal feces before.

Meanwhile, in Canada this infection made its way up in to a lot of provinces, including Quebec, Ontario, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland & Labrador, and New Brunswick. And in the United states, it has gotten into 13 states as well: Ohio, Mew York, New Hampshire, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Washington, Vermont, Nebraska, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Connecticut and California.

After a while of researching and investigation, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency has concluded that mostly this bacteria was developed from the consumption of romaine lettuce. But the United States, reported through the New York Times, that they don’t want to blame it on the leafy green vegetable, because they are not sure yet.

“This year in this time, mostly the leafy greens will be brought from very southern places like Mexico or California, or some other states or countries that are producing romaine lettuce” reported Herb Schellhorn, who is a microbiologist at the McMaster University in Hamilton, who got his specialization on the study of E. Coli, and many other water or food pathogens. “Also it may be triggered during the process of transportation, or sometimes while individuals process it, it can become infected with it”.

Who Is Most at Risk of E. coli Infection?

Therefore, the Canadian officials have recommended to their citizens to avoid romaine lettuce, but the Americans haven’t found any issue with it and they are still buying it with no recommendations. So, it would be your responsibility to consume the romaine lettuce which might have E.Coli, it would be wiser if you are from these areas to avoid it for a while, at least until they are sure it is from there or from another source.

Anyone who develops E. Coli, will feel very ill and tired for a few days before he fully recovers. But don’t forget that this infection can sometimes cost a life. For this infection which is very specific and dangerous, experts have said that people with weak immune systems, elderly people, youngsters, children and pregnant women have higher risks of developing this disease.

How Lettuce Becomes Contaminated with E. coli

The Public Health Agency of Canada has published a health notice in which was reported that the leafy green veggies can become infected with this disease in many ways than you can imagine, including:

  • Animal Feces
  • Contaminated water
  • In the field by the soil
  • Improperly composted manure
  • Counters, fridges, from the cutting boards that have many harmful bacteria from seafood, poultry and raw meat.
  • Storing, transportation after or before harvesting and unsanitary holding

As you see now, E. Coli is not a disease which is easily triggered or something like that, it is we who don’t avoid it and prevent from it. Therefore, follow the tips below to avoid the development of this disease or its outbreak.

According to the Public Health Agency of Canada, here are a few tips to protect yourself from the life-threatening disease:

1. Before you touch the product, wash your hands with soap and warm water, it doen’t matter if it is romaine lettuce or some other product.

2. If you are buying romaine lettuce that is not washed and stored in plastic bags, follow these short tips below:

  • Get rid of the most outer leaves.
  • Wash each leaf with cool water, without using soap or any other produce cleaners.
  • Wash away all the dirt carefully.
  • The lettuce shouldn’t be stored in the refrigerator for more than 7 days.
  • Wash countertops, celery, containers, cutting boards with soap and warm water, in order to protect yourself and your family from E. Coli.

3. There is no need to wash the lettuce which is packed in the ready to eat package, which is labeled as pre-washed, washed or even triple-washed. Store them in your refrigerator and try to eat them before their date of expiration.

4. According to Schellhorn, you should just throw it out of your life.

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