Retailers remove Romaine lettuce from their stores

Retailers across the USA and Canada are removing Romaine lettuce and products containing Romaine lettuce from their stores in response to alerts issued today by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC).

Epidemiological evidence in both countries has linked consumption of Romaine lettuce to an outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 illnesses in eleven US states and two Canadian provinces.

Traceback investigations are in progress to determine the source of the contaminated Romaine.

The following US supermarket chains and food stores have alerted customers to the illness outbreak and, in many cases, have removed all products containing Romaine from their stores:

The following Canadian supermarket chains and food stores have alerted customers to the illness outbreak and, in many cases, have removed all products containing Romaine from their stores:

Do not consume any romaine lettuce or any product containing romaine lettuce. Please follow the live links to your retailer’s web page for a complete list of affected products sold by that retailer.


What you don’t see CAN hurt you

More than 500 customers of McDonalds have become infected with a nasty little parasite that goes by the name Cyclospora. Twenty-four people have been hospitalized, according to CDC.

Cyclospora is a single-cell, microscopic parasite that is transmitted through contaminated food or water. The most common symptom of infection is watery diarrhea. Other symptoms may include loss of appetite, weight loss, cramping, bloating, increased gas, nausea, vomiting, low-grade fever and fatigue.

Symptoms appear, on average, 7 days following initial infection (incubation period ranges from 2 days to more than 2 weeks) and can persist for several weeks. Cyclospora infections are not usually life-threatening.

Geographic distribution, courtesy of CDC

Confirmed cases have been reported by fifteen states and by New York City (which boasts a larger population that many of the states). Consumers in Connecticut, Florida, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, South Dakota, Tennessee, Virginia, Wisconsin, and New York City.

According to CDC, the largest numbers of illnesses occurred in Illinois (273), Iowa (99) and Missouri (52). Multiple cases also were reported in neighboring states. Outbreak victims in Connecticut, New York City, Tennessee, and Virginia purchased salads while traveling in Illinois; the Florida patient purchased a salad while traveling in Kentucky.

Most of the reported cases materialized in late June and early July.

The parasite was recovered from a packaged romaine lettuce/carrot mix supplied to the restaurant chain by Fresh Express.  The investigation is ongoing and FDA is currently reviewing distribution and supplier information for both the romaine and the carrots.

FDA offers the following suggestions for restaurants, food service facilities and consumers.

What Do Restaurants and Retailers Need To Do?

Based on current information available Cyclospora may be resistant to routine chemical disinfection methods such as those using chlorine. However, restaurants and retailers should still follow basic food safety practices:

  • Retailers, restaurants, and other food service operators should always practice safe food handling and preparation measures. It is recommended that they wash hands, utensils, and surfaces with hot, soapy water before and after handling food. Wash and sanitize display cases and refrigerators where potentially contaminated products were stored.
  • Wash and sanitize cutting boards, surfaces, and utensils used to prepare, serve, or store potentially contaminated products.
  • Wash hands with warm water and soap following the cleaning and sanitation process.
  • Regular frequent cleaning and sanitizing of food contact surfaces and utensils used in food preparation may help to minimize the likelihood of cross-contamination.

What Do Consumers Need To Do?

Consumers who have symptoms of cyclosporiasis should contact their health care provider to report their symptoms and receive care. Most people infected with Cyclospora develop diarrhea, with frequent, sometimes explosive, bowel movements. Other common symptoms include loss of appetite, weight loss, stomach cramps/pain, bloating, increased gas, nausea, and fatigue. Vomiting, body aches, headache, fever, and other flu-like symptoms (relapse).

Recalls and Alerts: May 3 – 6, 2018

Here is today’s list of food safety recalls, product withdrawals, allergy alerts and miscellaneous compliance issues. The live links will take you directly to the official recall notices and company news releases that contain detailed information for each recall and alert.

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United States

Outbreak Alert Update: North Dakota Department of Health reports its first case of E. coli O157:H7 illness linked to consumption of romaine lettuce. The outbreak has now spread to 26 states.

Food Safety Recall: Eddy Packing Co., Inc. recalls approximately 49,558 pounds of smoked sausage products due to foreign matter (hard plastic pieces) contamination. Please refer to the recall notice for a complete list of affected products.

Food Safety Recall: Texas All Grass-Fed recalls approximately 2,300 whole frozen chickens because of processing issues that may have permitted the growth of Salmonella or other bacteria. Please refer to the recall notice for additional product and distribution information.

Dietary Supplement Safety Recall: Badger Botanicals, LLC recalls Green Suma, Red Suma, Green Hulu 2, and Red Hulu 2 kratom dietary supplements (250g pouches) due to potential Salmonella contamination. The recalled products were sold directly to consumers via the company website from January 1st, 2018 to April l 12th, 2018.

Dietary Supplement Safety Recall: Maya Distribution, LLC recalls Dragon Kratom labeled bottles and sealed packages of encapsulated and raw powder product due to potential Salmonella contamination. Please refer to the recall notice for a complete list of affected products.


Food Safety Alert: Gastronomie Concept inc. (Sainte-Agathe-des-Monts, QC) urges consumers to thoroughly cook Gastronomie Concept burger de filet mignon (160g or 170g; all units sold up to and including May 3, 2018), as the cooking instruction on the product label is in error.

Food Safety Recall: Pastaga inc recalls Le Petit Coin Épicerie brand partially-preserved soups and sauces as the products were not preserved in a manner to their safety for consumption. Please refer to the recall notice for a complete list of affected products.

Food Safety Recall (Update): K&K Foodliner recalls K&K Foodliner brand pork schnitzel products due to E. coli O157:H7 contamination. Please refer to the recall notice for a complete list of affected products.


Allergy Alert (Netherlands): Abel’s Deli recalls Abel’s Deli brand Vegetable Medley (460g; Best before 05-05-2018 and 07-05-2018) due to undeclared walnuts.

Food Safety Recall (Belgium): Halal Food Chakirs SPRL recalls CHATAR brand powdered ginger (200g pouch; Lot #E170686; Expiry 2020) due to possible Bacillus cereus contamination.

Food Safety Recall (Denmark): Scandic Food A/S recalls Svansø Dansk Lyng Honey (225g; Lot #L36; Best before 10/07/2019) due to foreign matter (metal) contamination.

Food Safety Recall (France): E. Leclerc recalls Tradizioni d’Italia brand Mozzarella di Buffala (Lot #101; Best before 11 May 2018) due to Listeria monocytogenes contamination.

Asia, Africa and the Pacific Islands

Food Safety Recall (Hong Kong): FICO International Ltd recalls Epoisses brand Fromages Mons Sas (250g; Lot #18043; Best before May 11, 2018; product of France) due to possible shiga-toxin producing E. coli contamination.

Australia and New Zealand

Food Safety Recall (Australia): Coles recalls Coles Mini Classics Ice Creams, Vanilla (360 mL; Best before 16/04/2020 and 17/04/2020) and Coles Mini Classics Ice Creams, Almond (360 mL; Best before 18/04/2020) due to possible foreign matter (metal fragment) contamination.