March 21, 2018

KFC, Taco Bell Lettuce Is Source of E. coli Outbreak In Canada

The source of an E.coli outbreak that has sickened at least 16 people in Canada was lettuce served at Taco Bell and KFC restaurants, health officials in New Brunswick have discovered.  The outbreak affected three provinces: New Brunswick, where six people became ill and Nova Scotia and Ontario which each had five cases.

“Based on the information we have collected and shared with other provinces, we believe that lettuce has been a common food source among cases,” said Dr. Eilish Cleary, New Brunswick’s chief medical officer of health. “Since lettuce has a limited shelf life, it is highly unlikely that some from the affected lots remain in restaurants.”

Investigators from three provinces and the Canadian federal government are working together on the investigation. In a statement released today, Cleary reminded Canadians to wash hands with soap and running water for 20 seconds after using the bathroom, changing diapers cleaning up messes and before eating. Other advice included washing fruit and vegetables and cutting away damaged areas before eating them.  Use clean cutting boards and utensils. Scrub  produce with thick skins  such as carrots and potatoes with a vegetable brush.  Discard the outer leaves of lettuce or cabbage, the rinse inner leaves under running water for 30 seconds, shake off excess water and place them on a  paper towel or clean dish cloth to dry. All produce should be refrigerated within two hours of peeling and/or cutting.

Symptoms of E. coli 0157:H7  infection include severe cramps, vomiting and diarrhea, which is often bloody. Anyone experiencing these symptoms  should see a health-care provider.


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