The recent outbreak of E. coli infections has been linked to romaine lettuce harvested the central coast growing regions of northern and central California.
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency said it has determined that romaine lettuce grown in Canada, including hydroponic romaine lettuce and romaine lettuce grown in greenhouses, is not associated with the outbreak.
The CFIA said that, as of Dec. 24, the Canadian outbreak appears to be over as there have been no illnesses linked to the Canadian investigation since mid-November.
The U.S. investigation is ongoing and public health and food safety partners in both countries will continue to collaborate and exchange information.
Over the last month, the CFIA said it has implemented import-control measures to ensure that romaine lettuce from affected regions in California identified in the U.S. FDA’s investigation is not being imported into Canada.
E. coli are bacteria that live naturally in the intestines of cattle, poultry and other animals. A common source of E. coli illness is raw fruits and vegetables that have come in contact with feces from infected animals. Leafy greens, such as lettuce, can become contaminated in the field by soil, water, animals or improperly composted manure.
Lettuce can also be contaminated by bacteria during and after harvest from handling, storing and transporting the produce. Contamination in lettuce is also possible at the grocery store, in the refrigerator or from counters and cutting boards through cross-contamination with harmful bacteria from raw meat, poultry or seafood.
Most E. coli strains are harmless to humans, but some varieties cause illness.
People infected with E. coli can have a wide range of symptoms. Some do not get sick at all, though they can still spread the infection to others. Others may feel as though they have a bad case of upset stomach. In some cases, individuals become seriously ill and must be hospitalized.
The following symptoms can appear within one to ten days after contact with the bacteria: nausea, vomiting, headache, mild fever, severe stomach cramps and watery or bloody diarrhea
Most symptoms end within five to 10 days. There is no real treatment for E. coli infections, other than monitoring the illness, providing comfort and preventing dehydration through proper hydration and nutrition.
People who develop complications may need further treatment, such dialysis for kidney failure. A health care provider should be contacted if symptoms persist.