The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (U.S. CDC), the United States Food and Drug Administration (U.S. FDA), and the United States Food Safety and Inspection Service (U.S. FSIS) are investigating an outbreak of Escherichia coli O157, commonly called E. coli, that is linked to romaine lettuce coming from the Salinas, California growing region in the United States (U.S.). E. coli can cause a serious, life-threatening illness.

Although an outbreak is not occurring in Canada, the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) has identified one Canadian illness with a similar genetic fingerprint to illnesses reported in the U.S. investigation.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has confirmed that romaine lettuce from the affected areas reported in the U.S. investigation is imported to Canada at this time of year. The CFIA has taken measures to protect consumers and is implementing new actions at the border to ensure that any affected romaine lettuce products are no longer being imported into Canada.

As a result of the U.S. outbreak investigation and its link to product on the Canadian market, the Public Health Agency of Canada is advising Canadians to follow the U.S. CDC’s public health advice, which advises consumers to not eat, and retailers and food service establishments to not sell or serve, any romaine lettuce harvested from the Salinas, California growing region in the U.S. Romaine lettuce harvested in Canada is not affected by this advice.

This is the fourth E. coli outbreak linked to romaine lettuce affecting Canadian consumers in the last two years. The Government of Canada, along with provincial and territorial governments and regional public health units, remains vigilant in its efforts to monitor for any new E. coli illnesses linked to romaine lettuce. If future risks are identified, the Public Health Agency of Canada and its partners will take the necessary steps to notify Canadians of any increased risk to their health and to provide updated advice on how to prevent illness.

At this time, there is no outbreak of E. coli occurring in Canada. The U.S. CDC is reporting multiple illnesses in several U.S. states. As of November 22, 2019, there is one Canadian illness related to the U.S. outbreak that has been identified in the province of Manitoba. This individual became ill in mid-October.

Laboratory analysis indicates that the illness reported in Canada is also genetically related to illnesses reported in previous E. coli outbreaks that occurred in 2017 and 2018 and were linked to romaine lettuce. This suggests that there may be a reoccurring source of contamination. Canadian and U.S. health officials are collaborating to identify commonalities between the recent illnesses in an effort to identify the source of contamination affecting consumers.

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 $650 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.