Over the past seven weeks, 58 people in the U.S. and Canada have become ill from a dangerous strain of E. coli bacteria, likely from eating 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 in Canada.
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.
This strain of E. coli produces a toxin that in some cases can lead to serious illness, kidney failure, and even death.
That’s why Consumer Reports’ food safety experts are advising that consumers stop eating romaine lettuce until the cause of the outbreak is identified and the offending product is removed from store shelves.
While anyone can get sick if they are infected with E. coli, young children, the elderly, and anyone who has a condition (such as cancer or diabetes) that weakens the immune system are at greater risk.