How common has this become now to hear about letttuce being infected by E.coli or of an E.coli Outbreak . A recent CDC report says , 32 people from 11 states are infected in US with outbreak strain of
Shiga toxin-producing E. coli O157:H7 . Since its one of the most common food that we consume on Keto Diet, we need to know about this ‘Lettuce’ and ‘E.Coli’

What we know:

• Illnesses started on dates starting from October 8, 2018
• Thirteen people were hospitalized, including one person who developed hemolytic uremic syndrome, a type of kidney failure. No deaths have been reported
• 18 ill people infected with the same DNA fingerprint of E. coli O157:H7 bacteria in two Canadian provinces: Ontario and Quebec.

Acc to CDC ,similar outbreak happened last year in 2017 in US!!!

How does lettuce become contaminated with E. coli?

According to Public Health Agency of 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 is usually 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.


Effects can be seen in 1 to 3 days after consuming the food, symptoms include

  1. severe stomach cramps
  2. diarrhea
  3. vomiting
  4. headache
  5. mild fever
  6. In severe cases it can cause kidney failure or severe illness.
  7. People with weak immune system are severely impacted by this bacteria.

What can be done to protect your health ?

Health care professional suggest avoiding romaine lettuce and salad mixes containing romaine lettuce until more is known about the outbreak and the cause of contamination.
These kind of cases are always warning for everyone to understand how food products can be contaminated, so it is always important to follow food handling practises while preparing any kind of green leafy vegetables, even though this will not fully eliminate the risk.

Acc. To Canadian public health, below mentioned things need to considered while using romaine lettuce

• Wash your hands thoroughly with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds, before and after handling lettuce.

Ready-to-eat lettuce products sold in sealed packages and labelled as washed, pre-washed or triple washed do not need to be washed again. These products should also be refrigerated and used before the expiration date.

• Unwashed lettuce, including whole heads of lettuce sold in sealed bags, should be handled and washed using these steps:

  1. Discard outer leaves of fresh lettuce.
  2. Wash unpackaged lettuce under fresh, cool running water. There is no need to use anything other than water to wash lettuce. Washing it gently with water is as effective as using produce cleansers.
  3. Keep rinsing your lettuce until all of the dirt has been washed away.
  4. Don’t soak lettuce in a sink full of water. It can become contaminated by bacteria in the sink.
  5. Store lettuce in the refrigerator for up to seven days. Discard when leaves become wilted or brown.
  6. Use warm water and soap to thoroughly wash all utensils, countertops, cutting boards and storage containers before and after handling lettuce to avoid cross-contamination.


In short best way to avoid such situation is to stay away from lettuce until warning is removed by government officials.

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