September 28, 2021

Fresh Produce Suspected Cause Of E. coli Illnesses In Canada, Ohio

Fresh produce is the suspected cause of two E. coli outbreaks, one in Canada where at least 16 people have been sickened and one in Ohio where five people had confirmed cases of E.coli 0157:H7 poisoning and one additional case was suspected. In Canada, the outbreak is now considered nationwide, with six cases in New Brunswick and and five each in Nova Scotia and Ontario. In Ohio, leafy greens served at a Longhorn Steakhouse were  the suspected cause of  illnesses  which took place in in mid-December.

E. coliIn both outbreaks, authorities believe the produce was tainted when it arrived at restaurants where it was served. The perishable nature of fresh produce has posed traceback challenges in Canada. Luc Erjavec of the Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association, told FoodBeat that the tainted product was traced back to a supplier but  “there’s no product left to test because it has either gone bad or been used.”

In Canada, the investigation is ongoing and it’s possible more cases could develop. In Ohio, public health authorities say the outbreak is over and the investigation is closed.

Food safety advocates say the outbreaks serve as reminder that E.coli  illnesses can arise from eating a  variety of foods, not just red meat.  E.coli can cause serious, sometimes fatal illness. Symptoms of E.coli poisoning include abdominal cramping, vomiting and frequent, forceful diarrhea which can sometimes be bloody. Sometimes a low-grade fever is also present. The symptoms usually develop three days after exposure and intensify over the course of seven days. Anyone experiencing severe symptoms should see a healthcare provider.




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