Five people have been hospitalized, including one who died. But, so far investigators with the CDC in the USA and the Public Health Agency of Canada have found 58 people became ill after eating contaminated lettuce in the past few weeks.
The source of the E. coli food poisoning is being investigated by FDA and CDC, along with public health officials in Canada.
Thorough cooking usually kills foodborne bacteria such as E. coli or salmonella, but lettuce is not usually cooked.
Officials will also sequence the whole genome of the E. coli involved in the US outbreak, to determine how closely related it is to the strain in Canada.
Consumers Union's Jean Halloran said people should get stronger warnings. "If so, and people aren't warned, more may get sick".
Seventeen incidents have been reported in California, Illinois, Connecticut, Indiana, Michigan, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New York, Ohio, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Vermont and Washington from November 15 through December 8, 2017.
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Grocery chain Bashas' spokesperson Ashley Shick said none of the store's romaine suppliers, which are from Yuma and California, were connected to the CDC's ongoing investigation.
What's the source of this outbreak?
NBC reported that it could take weeks to to track down the source of an outbreak because most food is shipped to central locations from various farms, where it is processed, packaged and redistributed.
"Whole genome sequencing is being performed on samples of bacteria making people sick in the United States to give us information about whether these illnesses are related to the illnesses in Canada".
In the meantime, Consumer Reports experts have cautioned consumers to avoid romaine lettuce until the source of the outbreak has been uncovered. But does this mean you should skip the romaine on your sandwich or in your salad?
The United Fresh Produce Association said it's not clear that throwing out romaine lettuce would do any good. 0157:H7 is highly infectious and exposure to only a very small amount can cause disease. Symptoms include nausea, vomiting, pain or tenderness, diarrhea and abdominal cramps. Two people have developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a type of kidney failure.
He added that people in certain risk groups, such as young children, seniors, and people with underlying health conditions, be especially vigilant about avoiding romaine lettuce for the time being.