BAHFSA: No E. coli linked to romaine lettuce harvested outside California

Lisa Dennis of Regent Square selects a head of green lettuce from the vegetable shelves at the East End Food Co-op Federal Credit Union Tuesday, Nov. 20, 2018, in Pittsburgh. Due to a recent consumer alert regarding a multi state E.Coli outbreak the Co-op has replaced their fresh and bagged romaine lettuce with blue signs reading, "The CDC has issued a Consumer Alert for romaine lettuce due to a multi state E.Coli outbreak." (Jessie Wardarski/Pittsburgh Post-Gazette via AP)

US agencies will now require romaine lettuce to have new labelling

USDA turkey recall remains in effect

 

NASSAU, BAHAMAS – The Bahamas Agricultural Health and Food Safety Authority (BAHFSA) on Wednesday said last week’s reported E. coli outbreak in the United States is linked to romaine lettuce grown in California.

As for the turkey recall by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), including the Jennie-O Brand turkey products identified in that company’s voluntary recall,  the BAHFSA said this recall remains in effect.

“Preliminary results of a trace-back investigation revealed that those who became ill in several parts of the US were exposed to romaine lettuce harvested in California, specifically the central coast growing regions of Northern and Central California,” the BAHFSA said yesterday in an issued statement.

“Therefore, romaine lettuce, including hydroponically and greenhouse-grown romaine, harvested outside the California regions identified above does not appear to be related to the current outbreak,” the BAHFSA said.

According to the BAHFSA, US agencies will now require romaine lettuce to have new labelling, which will include the harvest location and harvest date or labelling that indicates whether the lettuce has been hydroponically or greenhouse-grown.

The BAHFSA said the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends that if romaine lettuce does not have this information, consumers should not eat it. They also recommend that consumers avoid eating romaine from the Central Coast growing regions of Northern and Central California.

The BAHFSA urged consumers to be vigilant and practice good hygiene when preparing lettuce or any raw, ready-to-eat products or raw products to be cooked for consumption.

The BAHFSA said persons who consume contaminated lettuce may experience the effects of the illness for 12 to 24 hours or up to a week after ingestion. These effects may be in the form of vomiting, stomach cramps, diarrhea, fever, loss of appetite and, in immune-compromised individuals, kidney failure.

Those who consume contaminated turkey may experience fever, diarrhea, abdominal cramps, headache, nausea, vomiting, and loss of appetite within 12 to 72 hours after eating the contaminated product.  Children five years and younger, the elderly, pregnant, and persons with a compromised immune system may experience a more severe level of illness. If you or a family member shows signs of these symptoms, report immediately to the nearest community clinic for treatment.

“BAHFSA, the MOH (Ministry of Health), and the DEHS (Department of Environmental Health Services) are committed first and foremost to the health and safety of all consumers, both Bahamian and visitors alike.  As such, BAHFSA, MOH and DEHS will continue to update consumers on the status of both outbreaks as the information is made available by the CDC, FDA and USDA,” the BAHFSA statement concluded.

Consumers who may have questions or concerns should contact BAHFSA at: christopherworrell@bahamas.gov.bs or patriciajjohnson@bahamas.gov.bs.