• Multistate Salmonella Outbreak, Jimmy John’s Restaurants Sprouts 2018

As of January 18, 2018, eight people infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Montevideo have been reported from Illinois, Wisconsin and Minnesota. Illnesses started on dates ranging from December 20, 2017 to January 3, 2018. Ill people range in age from 26 to 50, with a median age of 34. All 8 (100%) are female. No hospitalizations and no deaths have been reported.  Evidence indicates that raw sprouts served at Jimmy John’s restaurants are a likely source of this multistate outbreak.

Federal, state, and local health and regulatory officials are conducting traceback investigations from the six Jimmy John’s locations where ill people ate raw sprouts. These investigations are ongoing to determine where the sprouts were distributed, and to learn more about the potential route of contamination. 

  • Multistate E. coli O121 Outbreak, Jimmy John’s Restaurants Alfalfa Sprouts 2014

19 Sickened – Public health officials in California, Idaho, Michigan, Montana, Utah and Washington collaborated with their federal partners at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to investigate an outbreak of E. coli O121 that occurred in May 2014.  A total of 19 persons with the outbreak strain, identified by PulseNet PFGE Pattern Identification Numbers EXKX01.0011/EXKA26.0001, were reported.  Among persons for whom information was available, dates of illness onset ranged from May 1, 2014 to May 20, 2014.  Ill persons ranged from 11 years to 52 years.  Seven of 16 persons for whom information was available were hospitalized.  No ill person developed hemolytic uremic syndrome and no deaths were reported.

Epidemiologic and traceback investigations conducted by public health officials implicated raw clover sprouts produced by Evergreen Fresh Sprouts, LLC of Hayden, Idaho as the likely source of this outbreak.  Thirteen (81%) of 16 ill persons reported eating raw clover sprouts in the week before becoming ill.  Ill persons in Washington and Idaho reported eating sprouts in sandwiches at several local food establishments including several Jimmy John’s Gourmet Sandwiches locations, the Pita Pit, and Daanen’s Deli.

As part of the investigation the FDA performed a traceback analysis and determined that Evergreen Fresh Sprouts supplied sprouts to seven restaurants with outbreak associated cases.  This analysis used documents collected directly from the distributors and the grower, Evergreen Fresh Sprouts, as well as documents collected by the states from the points of service.

The FDA conducted several inspections at the Evergreen Fresh Sprouts facility in May and June.  During the inspections FDA investigators observed a number of unsanitary conditions, including condensate and irrigation water dripping from rusty valves, a rusty and corroded watering system in the mung bean room, tennis rackets (used to scoop mung bean sprouts) that had scratches, chips and frayed plastic; a pitchfork (used to transfer mung bean sprouts) that had corroded metal, and a squeegee (used to agitate mung bean sprouts inside a soak vat) that had visible corroded metal and non-treated wood.

On June 26, 2014 the FDA and CDC held a meeting with the owner of Evergreen Fresh Sprouts to advise the firm of FDA’s concerns that the seed lot used to row clover sprouts linked to this outbreak might be contaminated and to encourage Evergreen Fresh Sprouts to discontinue using that seed lot.  The owner of Evergreen Fresh Sprouts agreed to stop using the suspected lot of seeds.

  • Multistate E. coli O26 Outbreak, Jimmy John’s Restaurants Alfalfa Sprouts 2012

29 Sickened – A total of 29 individuals infected with the outbreak strain of E. coli O26 were reported from 11 states, including:  Alabama (1), Arkansas (1), Iowa (5), Kansas (2), Michigan (10), Missouri (3), Ohio (3), Pennsylvania (1), Washington (1), Wisconsin (1), and West Virginia (1).

Of the 27 ill persons with available information, 23 (85%) reported consuming sprouts at Jimmy John’s restaurants in the 7 days preceding illness.  Among 29 ill persons, illness onset dates ranged from December 25, 2011 to March 3, 2012.  Ill persons range in age from 9 years to 57 years old, with a median age of 26 years.  89% of ill persons are female.  Among the 29 ill persons, 7 (24%) were hospitalized. None developed HUS, and no deaths were reported.

Preliminary traceback information identified a common lot of clover seeds used to grow clover sprouts served at Jimmy John’s restaurant locations where ill persons ate.  FDA and states conducted a traceback that identified two separate sprouting facilities; both used the same lot of seed to grow clover sprouts served at these Jimmy John’s restaurant locations.  On February 10, 2012, the seed supplier-initiated notification of sprouting facilities that received this lot of clover seed to stop using it.

Results of the epidemiologic and traceback investigations indicated eating raw clover sprouts at Jimmy John’s restaurants was the likely cause of this outbreak.

  • Sprouters Northwest, Jimmy John’s Restaurants Clover Salmonella Sprouts Outbreak 2010

7 Sickened – Sprouters Northwest of Kent, Washington, issued a product recall after the company’s clover sprouts had been implicated in an outbreak of Salmonella Newport in Oregon and Washington. At least some of the cases had consumed clover sprouts while at a Jimmy John’s restaurant. Jimmy John’s Restaurants are a restaurant chain that sells sandwiches. Concurrent with this outbreak, a separate Salmonella outbreak (Salmonella, serotype I 4,5,12,i- ; see Multistate Outbreak, Tiny Greens Organic Farm, Jimmy John’s Restaurants), involving alfalfa sprouts served at Jimmy John’s restaurants was under investigation. The recall of Northwest Sprouters products included: clover; clover & onion; spicy sprouts; and deli sprouts. The Sprouters Northwest products had been sold to grocery stores and wholesale operations in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Alaska, British Columbia, Saskatchewan, and Alberta. The FDA inspection found serious sanitary violations.

  • Multistate Salmonella Outbreak, Tiny Greens Organic Farm, Jimmy John’s Restaurants Alfalfa Sprouts 2010

140 Sickened – On December 17, the Illinois Department of Health announced that an investigation was underway into an outbreak of Salmonella, serotype I4,[5],12:i:-. Many of the Illinois cases had eaten alfalfa sprouts at various Jimmy John’s restaurants in the Illinois counties of: Adams, Champaign, Cook, DuPage, Kankakee, Macon, McHenry, McLean, Peoria, and Will counties. The sprouts were suspected to be the cause of the illnesses. On December 21, Jimmy John Liautaud, the owner of the franchised restaurant chain, requested that all franchisees remove sprouts from the menu as a “precautionary” measure. On December 23, the Centers for Disease Control revealed that outbreak cases had been detected in other states and that the outbreak was linked with eating alfalfa sprouts while at a nationwide sandwich chain. On December 26, preliminary results of the investigation indicated a link to eating Tiny Greens’ Alfalfa Sprouts at Jimmy John’s restaurant outlets. The FDA subsequently advised consumers and restaurants to avoid Tiny Greens Brand Alfalfa Sprouts and Spicy Sprouts produced by Tiny Greens Organic Farm of Urbana, Illinois. The Spicy Sprouts contained alfalfa, radish and clover sprouts. On January 14, 2011, it was revealed that the FDA had isolated Salmonella serotype I4,[5],12:i:- from a water runoff sample collected from Tiny Greens Organic Farm; the Salmonella isolated was indistinguishable from the outbreak strain. The several FDA inspections of the sprout growing facility revealed factors that likely led to contamination of the sprouts.

  • CW Sprouts, Inc., SunSprout Sprouts, “restaurant chain (Chain A),” a.k.a. Jimmy John’s Salmonella Outbreak 2009

256 Sickened – In February, Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services officials identified six isolates of Salmonella Saintpaul. Although this is a common strain of Salmonella, during 2008, only three cases had been detected in Nebraska and only four subtypes of this outbreak strain had been identified in 2008 in the entire USA. As additional reports were made, a case control study was conducted; alfalfa sprout consumption was found to be significantly related to illness. The initial tracebacks of the sprouts indicated that although the sprouts had been distributed by various companies, the sprouts from the first cases originated from the same sprouting facility in Omaha, Nebraska. Forty-two of the illnesses beginning on March 15 were attributed to sprout growing facilities in other states; these facilities had obtained seed from the same seed producer, Caudill Seed Company of Kentucky. The implicated seeds had been sold in many states. On April 26, the FDA and CDC recommended that consumers not eat raw alfalfa sprouts, including sprout blends containing alfalfa sprouts. In May, FDA alerted sprout growers and retailers that a seed supplier, Caudill Seed Company of Kentucky, was withdrawing all alfalfa seeds with a specific three-digit prefix.  Many of the illnesses occurred at “restaurant chain (Chain A).”

  • Jimmy John’s Restaurant Alfalfa Sprouts and Iceberg Lettuce E. coli Outbreak 2008

28 Sickened – Several University of Colorado students from one sorority became ill with symptoms of bloody diarrhea and cramping. Additional illnesses were reported. E. coli O157:NM(H-) was determined to be the cause. Consumption of alfalfa sprouts at the Jimmy John’s Restaurants in Boulder County and Adams County were risk factors for illness. In addition, the environmental investigation identified Boulder Jimmy John’s food handlers who were infected with E. coli and who had worked while ill. The health department investigation found a number of critical food handling violations, including inadequate handwashing. The fourteen isolates from confirmed cases were a genetic match to one another.

E. coli bacteria

In the United States, CDC, several states, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration continue to investigate a multistate outbreak of 24 STEC O157:H7 infections in 15 states. Since CDC’s initial media statement on December 28, seven more illnesses have been added to this investigation. The last reported illness started on December 12, 2017.

The likely source of the outbreak in the United States appears to be leafy greens, but officials have not specifically identified a type of leafy greens eaten by people who became ill.  Leafy greens typically have a short shelf life, and since the last illness started a month ago, it is likely that contaminated leafy greens linked to this outbreak are no longer available for sale. Canada identified romaine lettuce as the source of illnesses there, but the source of the romaine lettuce or where it became contaminated is unknown.

Whole genome sequencing (WGS) showed that the STEC O157:H7 strain from ill people in the United States is closely related genetically to the STEC O157:H7 strain from ill people in Canada. WGS data alone are not sufficient to prove a link; health officials rely on other sources of data, such as interviews from ill people, to support the WGS link. This investigation is ongoing. Because CDC has not identified a specific type of leafy greens linked to the U.S. infections, and because of the short shelf life of leafy greens, CDC is not recommending that U.S. residents avoid any particular food at this time.

In the United States, a total of 24 STEC O157:H7 infections have been reported from California (4), Connecticut (2), Illinois (1), Indiana (2), Maryland (3), Michigan (1), Nebraska (1), New Hampshire (2), New Jersey (1), New York (1), Ohio (1), Pennsylvania (2), Vermont (1), Virginia (1), and Washington (1). Illnesses started on dates from November 15 through December 12, 2017. Among the 18 ill people for whom CDC has information, nine were hospitalized, including one person in California who died. Two people developed hemolytic uremic syndrome, a type of kidney failure.

The Public Health Agency of Canada identified romaine lettuce as the source of the outbreak in Canada. In the United States, the likely source of the outbreak appears to be leafy greens, but health officials have not identified a specific type of leafy greens that sick people ate in common.

State and local public health officials continue to interview sick people in the United States to determine what they ate in the week before their illness started. Of 13 people interviewed, all 13 reported eating leafy greens. Five (56%) of nine ill people specifically reported eating romaine lettuce. This percentage was not significantly higher than results from a survey of healthy people in which 46% reported eating romaine lettuce in the week before they were interviewed.  Based on this information, U.S. health officials concluded that ill people in this outbreak were not more likely than healthy people to have eaten romaine lettuce.  Ill people also reported eating different types and brands of romaine lettuce. Currently, no common supplier, distributor, or retailer of leafy greens has been identified as a possible source of the outbreak. CDC continues to work with regulatory partners in several states, at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency to identify the source.

Although the most recent illness started on December 12, there is a delay between when someone gets sick and when the illness is reported to CDC. For STEC O157:H7 infections, this period can be two to three weeks. Holidays can increase this delay. Because of these reporting delays, more time is needed before CDC can say the outbreak in the United Stated is over. This investigation is ongoing.

On January 10, 2018, the Public Health Agency of Canada reported that an outbreak of Shiga toxin-producing E. coli O157:H7 infections (STEC O157:H7) they had identified was linked to romaine lettuce appears to be over. As of January 10, 2018, there were 42 cases of E. coli O157 illness reported in five eastern provinces: Ontario (8), Quebec (15), New Brunswick (5), Nova Scotia (1), and Newfoundland and Labrador (13). Individuals became sick in November and early December 2017. Seventeen individuals were hospitalized. One individual died. Individuals who became ill were between the ages of 3 and 85 years of age. The majority of cases (74%) were female. It urged the public to avoid eating romaine lettuce until more is known about the contamination.

Clearly, tweeting is not just happening in the Oval Office.

Granted, assuming that the E. coli O157:H7 illnesses stopped in early December – CDC and Canadian health authorities have not yet updated the toll – 58 sick with two dead – and, given that romaine lettuce is a perishable product, Dr. Gottlieb may well be correct.  However, since there has been no report where the romaine was grown or processed, we do not really know where the contamination occurred and if subsequent lots of romaine (or other products) are at risk.

I’ll stick with the old CDC adage: “When in doubt, throw it out.”

The CDC, several states, and the FDA are investigating a multistate outbreak of Shiga toxin-producing E. coli O157:H7 infections in 13 states. Seventeen illnesses have been reported from California (3), Connecticut (2), Illinois (1), Indiana (1), Michigan (1), Nebraska (1), New Hampshire (2), New York (1), Ohio (1), Pennsylvania (1), Virginia (1), Vermont (1) and Washington (1). Illnesses started on dates from November 15 through December 8, 2017. Two individuals developed HUS and there has been one death in California.

On December 28, the CDC announced that because the CDC has not identified a source of the infections, CDC is unable to recommend whether U.S. residents should avoid a particular food. This investigation is ongoing, and more information will be released as it becomes available.

In Canada, the Public Health Agency of Canada has identified romaine lettuce as the source of the outbreak in Canada. Currently, there are 41 cases of E. coli O157 illness under investigation in five eastern provinces: Ontario (8), Quebec (14), New Brunswick (5), Nova Scotia (1), and Newfoundland and Labrador (13). Individuals became sick in November and early December 2017. Seventeen individuals have been hospitalized. One individual has died. Individuals who became ill are between the ages of 3 and 85 years of age. The majority of cases (73%) are female.

On December 28, the Public Health Agency of Canada announced that because of the ongoing risk in eastern Canada, the Public Health Agency of Canada is advising individuals in Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Newfoundland and Labrador to consider consuming other types of lettuce, instead of romaine lettuce, until more is known about the outbreak and the cause of contamination.

On January 3, 2018, Food safety experts at Consumer Reports are advising that consumers stop eating romaine lettuce until the cause of the outbreak is identified and that product is removed from store shelves.

I certainly understand that many romaine lettuce growers would like the CDC to call the “outbreak over” because the last onset of illness – thus far in the US – was December 8, and given that lettuce is a perishable product, it is not likely the product is still in stores or restaurants.  Generally, I would agree with that, however, because neither Canada or the US has been able to confirm where the contamination occurred – on farm, in processing, in transit – I think I agree with the Canadian and Consumer Reports approach – “When in doubt, throw it out.”

There have been several romaine lettuce related E. coli outbreaks in both Canada and the United Sates in the past decades.

In April 2012, an outbreak of E. coli O157 which sickened 28 was linked to romaine lettuce grown and distributed by Amazing Coachella Inc., which is the parent company of Peter Rabbit Farms, both based in Coachella, California. Health officials in New Brunswick, Canada identified at least 24 people with bloody diarrhea beginning on April 23, 2012. Ill persons lived in the communities of Miramichi, St. John and Bathurst. Most of the patient’s laboratory confirmed with E. coli O157:H7 ate at Jungle Jim’s Restaurant in Miramichi. Food samples collected at Jungle Jim’s were negative for E. coli O157:H7. On June 29, 2012, the Government of New Brunswick issued a press release saying that a case control study involving 18 ill persons and 37 non-ill persons linked illness to consumption of romaine lettuce. The strain found in ill persons in this outbreak was also isolated in persons in Quebec and in at least 9 people California. Most of the California victims ate at a “single unnamed restaurant” according to California public health officials.

In October 2011, an outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 which sickened 58, was first identified in the region around Saint Louis, Missouri. Cases were found in Saint Louis, Jefferson, Saint Charles, and Saint Clair counties and in the city of Saint Louis. The cases ranged in age from 1 to 94. At least six persons were hospitalized. Many of the cases had eaten items from salad bars prior to becoming ill. On October 28, Illinois state health officials revealed that they were investigating an illness that might be linked to the outbreak in Missouri. The link was not described. On October 31, health department officials acknowledged that Schnucks salad bars were a focus of the investigation, however other sources had not been excluded. Cases were identified in Minnesota and Missouri that were linked to college campuses. Additional cases were found in other states; the exposure location in these states was not described. Traceback analysis determined that a common lot of romaine lettuce, from a single farm, was used to supply the Schnucks’ grocery stores and the college campuses. The lettuce was sold to Vaughn Foods, a distributor, that supplied lettuce to the university campus in Missouri, but records were not sufficient to confirm that this lot was sent to this university campus. Preliminary findings of investigation at farm did not identify the source of the contamination.

In May 2010, Cases of a genetically-identical strain of E. coli O145 which sickened 33 were identified in the states of Michigan, Ohio, Tennessee, Pennsylvania, and New York. Illness onsets occurred between April 10 and 26. Several of the cases were students at Ohio State University, the University of Michigan, and Daemen College (Buffalo, New York). Several of the ill in Ann Arbor, Michigan, had eaten at a common restaurant. At least four students in the Wappinger Central School District, in New York State, were also involved in the outbreak. Shredded lettuce served in the school district tested positive for E. coli bacteria. Romaine lettuce was named as the vehicle for this outbreak, on May 6, after the same strain of E. coli O145 was found in a Freshway Foods romaine lettuce sample in New York state. Freshway Foods issued a voluntary recall of various bagged lettuces. The traceback investigation suggested that the source of the lettuce was a farm in Yuma, Arizona. In Ohio, a second, independent strain, of pathogenic E. coli was isolated from Freshway Foods bagged, shredded, romaine lettuce, E. coli O143:H34. This strain was not linked to any known food-borne illness. The isolation of the second strain of E. coli led to an additional recall of lettuce. Andrew Smith Company, of California, launched a recall of lettuce sold to Vaughan Foods and to an unidentified third firm in Massachusetts. Vaughan Foods of Moore, Oklahoma, received romaine lettuce harvested from the same farm in Yuma, Arizona; the romaine lettuce had been distributed to restaurants and food service facilities.

In September, 2009, a cluster of 29 patients who had been infected with an indistinguishable strain of E. coli O157:H7 was identified. Initially case-patients were identified in Colorado, Utah, and New York State. Additional case-patients were identified subsequently in South Dakota, Wisconsin, and North Carolina. The Colorado case-patients had all eaten at the same Chipotle Restaurant in Boulder, Colorado, on September 4, 2009. In Utah, all case-patients had eaten at the Cafe Rio Restaurant located in Salt Lake City, Utah, between August 31 and September 4, 2009. The New York State case patient had eaten at a Chipotle Restaurant. A case control study involving Utah and Colorado case-patients was conducted; it showed that eating romaine, or iceberg, lettuce was associated with risk of illness. The New York State case-patient had eaten romaine lettuce at the Chipotle Restaurant. A traceback of the romaine lettuce led to a common harvester/shipper, Church Brothers, LLC, located in Salinas, California. No lettuce remained for testing and environmental samples collected at Church Brothers, LLC, did not show the presence of E. coli O157:H7. Investigation of the cases in South Dakota, Wisconsin, and North Carolina did not provide useful information for the trace-back investigation. Lettuce was the most likely vehicle for this outbreak because of the common lettuce source for the cases in Utah, Colorado, and New York State. These cases represented 16 out of the 19 confirmed cases. Although Cotija cheese, pinto beans, and pico de gallo consumption were also associated with illness, it was likely that these results reflected confounding as lettuce is usually served with these ingredients in Mexican style restaurants. Cotija cheese was not used in the Colorado and New York Chipotle Restaurants. A common source of cilantro, the most suspect ingredient in pico de gallo, was not identified for Cafe Rio or for the Chipotle Restaurants.

In September 2009, public health officials in Colorado, Minnesota, North Carolina, Iowa, Connecticut, and Missouri identified a cluster of 10 patients with an indistinguishable strain of E. coli O157. The cluster was assigned 0910MLEXH-1. Two Colorado cases ate at Giacomos, a restaurant located in Pueblo, Colorado on the same date, September 6. Cases in Minnesota and Iowa ate at the same restaurant in Omaha, Nebraska. The suspected source of the outbreak was romaine lettuce.

In October 2008, an outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 which sickened 12 was associated with eating at M.T. Bellies Restaurant, Welland, Ontario, Canada. This was one of four, concurrent, restaurant-associated, outbreaks of E. coli O157:H7 that occurred in Ontario, Canada. Romaine lettuce was the suspected outbreak vehicle in this outbreak.

In October 2008, Johnathan’s Family Restaurant in Burlington, Ontario, Canada, was implicated in an outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 which sickened 43 involving romaine lettuce. This outbreak was one of four, concurrent, restaurant-associated outbreaks in Ontario, Canada. The E. coli O157:H7 strain was said to be different from the strain of E. coli O157:H7 outbreak associated with the Harvey’s Restaurant (235 sick) in North Bay, Ontario, the largest of the four outbreaks. The E. coli O157:H7 strain from Johnathan’s was said to be the same as the strain implicated in the restaurant outbreaks occurring at Little Red Rooster (21 sick) and M.T. Bellies Restaurants (12 sick).

In September 2005, genetic fingerprinting test results for an E. coli O157:H7 isolate were posted by the state of Minnesota on the national PulseNet website. Later the state of Minnesota received additional reports of illness among persons who were found to carry the same strain of E. coli O157:H7 bacteria. Epidemiologists, through food histories and a case control study, identified pre-packaged, bag lettuce, produced by the Dole Food Company, Inc., as the likely vehicle of transmission. E. coli O157:H7 was subsequently found in bagged lettuce samples and a public health alert and a FDA recall about the product was issued. Oregon and Wisconsin also found case-patients who had eaten the lettuce. The total number of sickened was 32.

In July 2002, an outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 which sickened 78 occurred among attendees of a dance camp held between July 11-14 on the campus of Eastern Washington University. The camp was for middle and high school girls. Attendees were from Washington, Montana, and Minnesota. Some of the ill girls attended a church camp in Spokane at the conclusion of the dance camp. Secondary cases were subsequently reported at the church camp and also in the girls’ home communities. The cases shared a Pulsed Field Gel Electrophoresis (PFGE), genetic fingerprint, pattern. Case-control study results strongly showed that the Caesar salad, made with Romaine lettuce and served during the July 11 dinner meal and the July 12 lunch, was associated with illness.

Health officials are investigating a series of recent illnesses from a dangerous strain of E. coli bacteria that may be linked to romaine lettuce.  Five people in the U.S. have been hospitalized and one has died, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  There has also been one death reported in Canada.

Food safety experts at Consumer Reports are advising that consumers stop eating romaine lettuce until the cause of the outbreak is identified and that product is removed from store shelves.

Over the past seven weeks, 58 people in the U.S. and Canada have become ill from the strain of E. coli (0157:H7). In the U.S., the infections have occurred in 13 states — California, Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Vermont, and Washington state.

Canadian health authorities identified romaine lettuce as the source of the outbreak in Canada, and are advising people in the country’s eastern provinces to consider eating other types of salad greens until further notice. In the U.S., government health officials are investigating the outbreaks, but have stopped short of recommending people avoid romaine lettuce or any other food.

Affected states include California, Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Vermont, and Washington.  Link to recent Canadian Outbreak.

Federal and state health officials are investigating a multistate Escherichia coli O157:H7 outbreak that has sickened 17 people in 13 states, and preliminary tests by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show that the outbreak strain is closely related to one in Canada that has been associated with romaine lettuce.

The CDC said illness onsets range from Nov 15 through Dec 8, according to a press release today sent to journalists.

State and local authorities are interviewing sick people to see what they ate in the week before they became ill. Because a source of the US infections hasn’t been identified, the CDC said it is unable to recommend if US residents should avoid a particular food. “This investigation is ongoing, and more information will be released as it becomes available,” it said.

The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) issued its first announcement about an E coli outbreak linked to romaine lettuce on Dec 11. In a Dec 21 update, it said it is so far investigating 41 cases from five provinces: Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Newfoundland and Labrador. There was one reported death. It urged the public to avoid eating romaine lettuce until more is known about the contamination.

Public Health England has linked a 12 cases of E. coli to Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference Aberdeen Angus quarter-pounder burgers, 454g packets, which are sold in the frozen section. Product: Taste the Difference 4 pack Aberdeen Angus British Beef Quarter Pounders (Frozen). Batches with ‘Best Before’ dates: July 2018, September 2018 and October 2018

The Public Health Agency of Canada says 40 E. coli illnesses are under investigation as possibly being linked to romaine lettuce. People who have reported illnesses have said that they ate romaine at home, at restaurants and in prepared salads purchased from grocery stores. The people infected are between the ages of 4 to 80 years of age and 70 % are women. One person has died.

So, where did the romaine lettuce come from?

The Public Health Agency of Canada is collaborating with provincial public health partners, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and Health Canada to investigate an outbreak of Escherichia coli O157:H7. The outbreak involves five provinces and is linked to romaine lettuce. At this time, there are no product recalls associated with this outbreak. The outbreak investigation is ongoing, and this public health notice will be updated on a regular basis as the investigation evolves

Currently, there are 30 cases of E. coli O157 illness under investigation in five provinces: Ontario, (6), Quebec (5), New Brunswick (5), Nova Scotia (1), and Newfoundland and Labrador (13). Individuals became sick in November and December 2017. Twelve individuals have been hospitalized. One individual has died. Individuals who became ill are between the ages of 4 and 80 years of age. The majority of cases (70%) are female.

So, where did the romaine lettuce come from?

Jim Sinnema, owner of Old Silvana Creamery, issued a recall today for the milk because samples of it have tested positive for E. coli.  The milk has best-by dates between Dec. 15 and Dec. 23.

“The recall includes both of the firm’s retail raw milk brands, ‘Jim’s Jerseys’ and ‘Guernsey Goodness,’ which were bottled in half-gallon and one-gallon plastic jugs with orange or green caps. Recalled product was sold at the on-farm store, directly to private customers, and at retail stores in Western Washington,” according to the recall notice.

“Consumers who have purchased Old Silvana Creamery retail raw milk with ‘Best By dates’ of  12/15 through 12/23 are urged not to drink the product and return it to the place of purchase for a full refund. Consumers with questions may contact the company at 425-268-7961.”

Anyone who has consumed any of the recalled milk and developed symptoms of E. coli infection should immediately seek medical attention and tell their doctors about the possible exposure. Specific tests are required to diagnose E. coli infections. No illnesses had been reported as of today, according to a spokesman with the Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA).

However, it can take up to 10 days for symptoms of E. coli infection to develop. Consequently, anyone who has consumed the recalled raw milk or served it to their children or others should watch for symptoms in the coming days.

Symptoms often begin slowly with mild belly pain or non-bloody diarrhea that worsens over several days, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Other symptoms can include severe stomach cramps, bloody diarrhea, and vomiting. If there is fever, it usually is not very high, less than 101 degrees F.

A life-threatening complication — hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) — impacting the kidneys can occur, especially in children. It develops an average of seven days after the first symptoms appear, often when the diarrhea is improving.

This is at least the third time Old Silvana Creamery has recalled its raw milk because of contamination issues. In January 2015 the dairy recalled unpasteurized milk when Campylobacter bacteria were detected. In 2013 the dairy recalled raw milk because of antibiotic residues, according to records at WSDA.

“Old Silvana Creamery LLC and WSDA continue to work jointly to address the source of the problem while conducting additional product testing through the WSDA laboratory as well as Old Silvana Creamery’s independent laboratory,” according to the dairy’s recall notice.

It is within the law to sell unpasteurized milk and other dairy products at retail locations, according to Washington state law, but state health officials caution that it carries significant risks, especially for young children, the elderly, pregnant and nursing women and anyone with a suppressed immune system, such as cancer patients.

State law requires unpasteurized, raw milk and raw dairy products to carry warning labels.

The Public Health Agency of Canada is collaborating with provincial public health partners, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and Health Canada to investigate an outbreak of Escherichia coli O157, commonly called E. coli. The outbreak involves three provinces and is linked to romaine lettuce. At this time, there are no product recalls associated with this outbreak. The outbreak investigation is ongoing, and this public health notice will be updated on a regular basis as the investigation evolves.

Currently, there are 21 cases of E. coli O157 illness under investigation in three provinces: Quebec (3), New Brunswick (5), and Newfoundland and Labrador (13). Individuals became sick in November 2017. Ten individuals have been hospitalized. No deaths have been reported. Individuals who became ill are between the ages of 5 and 72 years of age. The majority of cases (71%) are female.

Many individuals who became sick reported eating romaine lettuce before their illnesses occurred. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency is working with public health officials to determine the source of the romaine lettuce that ill individuals were exposed to.