Sobeys, Loblaws pull romaine lettuce from shelves across Canada

Thursday, 22 Nov, 2018

The Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, has suspended with immediate effect, the issuing of permits for the importation of Romaine lettuce from the United States.

In a news release posted on its website, Loblaw also said its stores would provide "a full refund" if customers returned the products.

"Absolutely bring it back", Lowrie said.

The New York City Department of Health said on Wednesday that it was alerting restaurants during regular inspections about the advisory and reaching out to industry trade groups to spread the word.

The alert comes after 32 people in 11 states, plus another 18 people in Canada, were reported infected with E. coli between October 8 and 31 and romaine was found to be the likely culprit.

Epidemiologic evidence from the United States and Canada indicates that romaine lettuce is a likely source of the outbreak.

According to Health Canada, most strains are harmless to humans but some varieties are capable of causing illness.

What is lagging is the ability to do track and trace to a single distributor or grower "because we don't have as good a technology as we would like in our supply chain", Gottlieb said.

Most people suffering from E. coli infections "recover completely on their own", the Public Health Agency of Canada said. All but one were selling romaine lettuce, some of which had been delivered on Wednesday.

However, the CFIA has said if the contaminated food products are identified in Canada, they will take the necessary steps to protect the public, including recalling the product. Leafy greens, such as lettuce, can become contaminated in the field by soil, water, animals or improperly composted manure. They also don't get mixed with lettuce from other farms when being processed and packaged, so they are easily traceable.

But unfortunately, that's not the case with the tainted romaine now wreaking havoc in the U.S. The CDC still has no idea where it came from or how long it will be before romaine is safe to eat again. In the long run, however, he thinks the bacteria scare "underscores our entire business model of having food grown in a secure environment secure from pathogens". Symptoms can show up anywhere from one to 10 days after exposure, the CDC says.