At 1:00 AM, it is unclear if this outbreak Canadian outbreak announcement of 16 ill is related to the recent outbreak linked to romaine lettuce grown in Salinas, California that has thus far sickened 2 Canadians and 102 U.S. citizens. See, Salinas Romaine sickens 2 in Canada and 102 in the United States with E. coli https://www.foodsafetynews.com/2019/12/salinas-romaine-sickens-2-in-canada-with-e-coli-and-102-in-the-united-state/
However, NOTE, in small print, business location is Salinas, California. However, if the 16 sickened are not linked to U.S. grown product this time, the history of past outbreaks is not that stellar (see below).
As of December 8, 2019, there are 16 confirmed cases of E. coli O157 illness linked to this outbreak in the following provinces: Ontario (10), Quebec (1), New Brunswick (3), Nova Scotia (1), and Newfoundland and Labrador (1). Individuals became sick between November 5 and November 22, 2019. Four individuals have been hospitalized. No deaths have been reported. Individuals who became ill are between 11 and 73 years of age. The majority of cases (62%) are female.
The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) is collaborating with provincial public health partners, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and Health Canada to investigate an outbreak of E. coli infections occurring across five eastern provinces. The outbreak appears to be ongoing, as recent illnesses continue to be reported to PHAC.
Based on the investigation findings to date, exposure to Fresh Express brand Sunflower Crisp Chopped Salad Kits has been identified as a likely source of the outbreak. Many of the individuals who became sick reported having eaten Fresh Express brand Sunflower Crisp Chopped Salad Kits before their illnesses occurred. The investigation is ongoing, and it is possible that additional sources could be identified.
On December 8, 2019, the CFIA issued a food recall warning for Fresh Express brand Sunflower Crisp Chopped Kit, 315g packages, UPC Code: 0 71279 30906 4, beginning with lot code Z. These products have a best before date up to and including 07DE19 and were sold in Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, and Newfoundland and Labrador.
Canadians are advised not to eat the recalled product, or any Fresh Express brand Sunflower Crisp Chopped Salad Kits sold in 315g packages, UPC 0 71279 30906 4, beginning with lot code Z, and best before date up to and including 07DEC19. Retailers and food service establishments are advised not to sell or serve these products, or any items that may have been prepared or produced using these products.
In late 2018, I posted (slightly edited) about cross-border E. coli outbreaks linked to leafy greens, specifically romaine lettuce:
Total Sick – 350
Hospitalized – 162
Kidney Failure – 31
Deaths – 7
In 2017 in Canada, a total, of 42 cases of E. coli O157 illness were reported in five eastern provinces: Ontario (8), Quebec (15), New Brunswick (5), Nova Scotia (1), Newfoundland and Labrador (13). Seventeen individuals were hospitalized. One individual died. Individuals who became ill were between the ages of 3 and 85 years of age. The majority of cases (74%) were female.
In 2017 in the United States, 25 people infected with the outbreak strain of STEC O157: H7 had been reported from 15 states. Ill people ranged in age from 1 to 95 years, with a median age of 26. Among ill people, 67% were female. Nine ill people were hospitalized, including two people who developed the hemolytic uremic syndrome. One death was reported from California.
In the Spring of 2018 in Canada, there were eight Canadian illnesses of E. coli O157 with a similar genetic fingerprint to illnesses reported in the U.S. investigation.
In the United States as of June 27, 2018, 210 people infected with the outbreak strain of E. coli O157: H7 were reported from 36 states. Ill people ranged in age from 1 to 88 years, with a median age of 28. Sixty-seven percent of ill people were female. Of 201 people with information available, 96 (48%) were hospitalized, including 27 people who developed the hemolytic uremic syndrome. Five deaths were reported from Arkansas, California, Minnesota (2), and New York.
In Canada, as of November 23, 2018, there had been 22 confirmed cases of E. coli illness investigated in Ontario (4), Quebec (17), and New Brunswick (1). Eight individuals were hospitalized, and one individual suffered from the hemolytic-uremic syndrome. Individuals who became ill were between 5 and 93 years of age. The cases are evenly distributed among male and female individuals.
In November 2018, 66 people infected with the outbreak strain of Shiga toxin-producing E. coli O157:H7 were reported from 12 states. Illnesses started on dates ranging from October 8, 2018 to October 31, 2018. Sixteen people were hospitalized, including one person who developed hemolytic uremic syndrome, a type of kidney failure. Epidemiologic and traceback evidence from the United States and Canada indicates that romaine lettuce harvested from the Central Coastal growing regions of northern and central California is a likely source of the outbreak.
E. coli outbreaks associated with lettuce, specifically the “pre-washed” and “ready-to-eat” varieties, are by no means a new phenomenon. In fact, the frequency with which this country’s fresh produce consuming public has been hit by outbreaks of pathogenic bacteria is astonishing. Here is just a sample of E. coli outbreaks based on information gathered by the Center for Science in the Public Interest, Kansas State University, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:
|July 1995||Lettuce (leafy green; red; romaine)||E. coli O157:H7||74||1:MT|
|Sept. 1995||Lettuce (romaine)||E. coli O157:H7||20||1:ID|
|Sept. 1995||Lettuce (iceberg)||E. coli O157:H7||30||1:ME|
|Oct. 1995||Lettuce (iceberg; unconfirmed)||E. coli O157:H7||11||1:OH|
|May-June 1996||Lettuce (mesclun; red leaf)||E. coli O157:H7||61||3:CT, IL, NY|
|May 1998||Salad||E. coli O157:H7||2||1:CA|
|Feb.-Mar. 1999||Lettuce (iceberg)||E. coli O157:H7||72||1:NE|
|Oct. 1999||Salad||E. coli O157:H7||92||3:OR, PA, OH|
|Oct. 2000||Lettuce||E. coli O157:H7||6||1:IN|
|Nov. 2001||Lettuce||E. coli O157:H7||20||1:TX|
|July-Aug. 2002||Lettuce (romaine)||E. coli O157:H7||29||2:WA, ID|
|Nov. 2002||Lettuce||E. coli O157:H7||13||1:Il|
|Dec. 2002||Lettuce||E. coli O157:H7||3||1:MN|
|Oct. 2003-May 2004||Lettuce (mixed salad)||E. coli O157:H7||57||1:CA|
|Apr. 2004||Spinach||E. coli O157:H7||16||1:CA|
|Nov. 2004||Lettuce||E. coli O157:H7||6||1:NJ|
|Sept. 2005||Lettuce (romaine)||E. coli O157:H7||32||3:MN, WI, OR|
|Sept. 2006||Spinach (baby)||E. coli O157:H7 and other serotypes||205||Multistate and Canada|
|Nov./Dec. 2006||Lettuce||E. coli O157:H7||71||4:NY, NJ, PA, DE|
|Nov./Dec. 2006||Lettuce||E. coli O157:H7||81||3:IA, MN, WI|
|July 2007||Lettuce||E. coli O157:H7||26||1:AL|
|May 2008||Romaine||E. coli O157:H7||9||1:WA|
|Oct. 2008||Lettuce||E. coli O157:H7||59||Multistate and Canada|
|Nov. 2008||Lettuce||E. coli O157:H7||130||Canada|
|Sept. 2009||Lettuce: Romaine or Iceberg||E. coli O157:H7||29||Multistate|
|Sept. 2009||Lettuce||E. coli O157:H7||10||Multistate|
|April 2010||Romaine||E. coli O145||33||5:MI, NY, OH, PA, TN|
|Oct. 2011||Romaine||E. coli O157:H7||60||Multistate|
|April 2012||Romaine||E. coli O157:H7||28||
|June 2012||Romaine||E. coli O157:H7||52||Multistate|
|Sept. 2012||Romaine||E. coli O157:H7||9||1:PA|
|Oct. 2012||Spinach and Spring Mix Blend||E. coli O157:H7||33||Multistate|
|Apr. 2013||Leafy Greens||E. coli O157:H7||14||Multistate|
|Aug. 2013||Leafy Greens||E. coli O157:H7||15||1:PA|
|Oct. 2013||Ready-To-Eat Salads||E. coli O157:H7||33||Multistate|
|Apr. 2014||Romaine||E. coli O126||4||1:MN|
|Apr. 2015||Leafy Greens||E. coli O145||7||3:MD, SC, VA|
|June 2016||Mesclun Mix||E. coli O157:H7||11||3:IL, MI, WI|
|Nov. 2017||Leafy Greens||E. coli O157:H7||67||Multistate and Canada|
|Mar. 2018||Romaine||E. coli O157:H7||219||Multistate and Canada|
|Nov. 2018||Romaine||E. coli O157:H7||88||Multistate and Canada|
|Sept. 2019||Romaine||E. coli O157:H7||23||Multistate|
|Nov. 2019||Romaine||E. coli O157:H7||104||Multistate and Canada|
Marler Clark, The Food Safety Law Firm, is the nation’s leading law firm representing victims of E. coli outbreaks and hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). The E. coli lawyers of Marler Clark have represented thousands of victims of E. coli and other foodborne illness infections and have recovered over $700 million for clients. Marler Clark is the only law firm in the nation with a practice focused exclusively on foodborne illness litigation. Our E. coli lawyers have litigated E. coli and HUS cases stemming from outbreaks traced to ground beef, raw milk, lettuce, spinach, sprouts, and other food products. The law firm has brought E. coli lawsuits against such companies as Jack in the Box, Dole, ConAgra, Cargill, and Jimmy John’s. We have proudly represented such victims as Brianne Kiner, Stephanie Smith and Linda Rivera.
If you or a family member became ill with an E. coli infection or HUS after consuming food and you’re interested in pursuing a legal claim, contact the Marler Clark E. coli attorneys for a free case evaluation.