The biggest grocery stores pull romaine salad nationwide



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Despite the fact that there is still no evidence of national contamination, several large Canadian grocery stores are launching roma salad sales across Canada after E. coli related outbreaks in three provinces.

Loblaw Companies announced on Wednesday that it has recalled and removed all romaine salad products from "all over the country" from the store shelves "with great caution".

Sobeys also said on Wednesday that he has temporarily stopped selling all romaine salad products – more than 300, he said – through his entire nationwide retail network, Sobeys, Safeway, IGA, Thrifty Foods and Foodland.

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According to news reports, Walmart's Canadian arm and the eastern Canada Metro grocery store have also pulled the romaine into their stores.

On Friday, the Canadian Food Inspectorate reported 22 cases of E. coli O157: H7-induced illnesses in Quebec, Ontario and New Brunswick with current outbreaks of 17, 4 and one. Diseases were reported from mid-October to early November.

In the United States on Tuesday, 32 reported cases were reported in 11 states, according to disease control and prevention centers and the US Food and Drug Administration. Most were in California (10), Michigan (seven) and New Jersey (three).

In Canada, research has so far shown that exposure to a novel salad is not a particular cause of contamination, the Canadian Health Ministry said on Friday.

Romaine salad was sampled and tested in a federal food safety study, PHAC said, but so far all tested products have proven to be negative for E. coli.

A contaminated product that is not yet found on the market and a source of contamination that has not yet been identified has no detectable product returns to either Canada or the United States associated with this outbreak, PHAC said.

"If a specific brand or novel nut source is recognized in Canada, the CFIA will take the necessary steps to protect the public, including restoring the product as required."

PHAC said, however, that it would recommend consumers in Ontario, Quebec and New Brunswick to avoid romaine salad and salad mixes containing romaine lettuce "until they know more about the onset of the disease and the cause of contamination".

The Romaine salad can take up to five weeks, so it is possible that consumers who have been infected with novel salads purchased in recent weeks may still be in their homes.

Residents of damaged provinces are also advised to dispose of novel salads that are still in their homes, and "wash properly and clean up" all tanks or containers that have come into contact with the romaine lettuce.

The agencies' advice deals with all types or uses of romaine salad such as full-length novelists, roman hearts and bags and boxes and salad mixtures containing romaine, including baby romaine, spring mix and caesar salad.

The disease associated with E. coli in humans is often due to raw materials and vegetables that have come into contact with feces of infected animals, CFIA said. Vegetables such as lettuce may also be subject to soil, water, animals or "improperly composted" manure.

Salad and other leafy vegetables naturally do not contain such bacteria, but they may also be contaminated during harvest and after handling, storing and transporting or in food stores, refrigerators or counters and cutting boards through cross-contamination from raw cans, poultry or seafood.

According to the FDA, the genetic analysis of E. coli O157: H7 chickens in patients presently in the outbreak is similar to E. coli O157: H7 channels associated with a previous outbreak of Autumn 2017 both in Canada and the United States.

That outbreak was linked to newsagents in the United States and the novel in Canada, the FDA said, while the novel salad is a suspect vehicle for current US and Canadian outbreaks.

There is no genetic connection to the outbreak of the current outbreak and the onset of a separate E. coli O157: H7 associated with a romaine in the spring of 2018, adding to the FDA.

Re-expression of the same position "suggests that contamination may be re-occurring", the CFIA noted that scientists also use evidence since 2017 in order to identify the potential cause of contamination.

According to Statistics Finland, Canadian field growers will sell some 101,016 tonnes of leaf leaves in 2016 and head for a lettuce, while greenhouse gas producers produced 12,171 tonnes. –– Glacier FarmMedia Network

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