ALERT: Avoid contaminated lettuce

Don't eat romaine lettuce: Health Canada

The CDC alert includes all romaine lettuce varieties such as whole heads or hearts, bags and boxes of pre-cut lettuce and salad mixes, including Caesar Salad. If you have eaten romaine lettuce in the past week and have been ill with similar symptoms, see your doctor. She said suppliers were asked to withdraw products until health officials are confident the pipeline is clear of contaminated romaine. "Follow these five steps to clean your refrigerator".

The Public Health Agency of Canada said it was investigating 18 cases of E.coli. Of those, 13 had been admitted to hospital, with one patient suffering from kidney failure.

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

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The CMO's Office has further advised that consumers in St. Kitts and Nevis should discard any romaine lettuce that has been purchased recently. Most romaine sold this time of year is grown in California. Officials did find the outbreak strain of E. coli O157:H7 bacteria in canal water that was near romaine lettuce fields in Yuma, Arizona this summer. It has resulted in one death and 164 reported illnesses in 35 states.

But even as public health officials in Canada and the US warned against consuming romaine, the lettuce was still piled high and prominently displayed at several grocery stores visited by this newspaper Wednesday morning.

Besides the romaine outbreak, there's a long-running widespread salmonella outbreak linked to raw turkey in the U.S.

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According to a 2013 USA government report, leafy greens such as lettuce and spinach are the biggest source of food poisoning. He also admitted that financial losses associated with recalling the lettuce from all store shelves would be significant.

Loblaws Canada also announced they would be pulling romaine lettuce products until further notice.

The AVA said: "As a precautionary measure, if consumers had bought romaine lettuce and are uncertain about the source, consumers should discard the lettuce".

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