Food and Drinks

Hong Kong food safety centre warns consumers to avoid eating romaine lettuce from United States and Canada because of E coli outbreak

  • Local retailers have voluntarily removed the produce from their shelves
  • Centre for Food Safety has enhanced surveillance at retail level
PUBLISHED : Thursday, 22 November, 2018, 9:41pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 22 November, 2018, 9:41pm

Hong Kong food safety authorities have warned the public to avoid consuming romaine lettuce from the United States and Canada because of possible E coli infection.

The call came after the city’s Centre for Food Safety received outbreak reports from the two countries of E coli infection which might be linked to the consumption of romaine, also known as cos lettuce.

The centre also held all romaine lettuce imported from the two countries starting from Thursday for testing, a spokesman said.

The produce will only be released to the market upon satisfactory test results.

It has enhanced surveillance of romaine from the two countries at retail level.

Local retailers had voluntarily removed the produce from their shelves, the spokesman added.

“For the sake of prudence, the centre urges the public not to consume romaine lettuce from the US, Canada and unknown sources,” the centre said.

The centre will continue to closely monitor the latest developments of the incident.

The US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that 32 people in 11 states had become sick from eating contaminated romaine. Of those, 13 had been admitted to hospital, with one patient suffering from kidney failure.

Romaine lettuce is unsafe in any form, US consumers are warned

The Public Health Agency of Canada reported that 18 people have been infected with the same strain of E coli in Ontario and Quebec.

In a rare, wide-ranging alert two days before Thanksgiving on Thursday, the CDC warned American consumers romaine lettuce was unsafe to eat in any form in response to a new outbreak of illnesses caused by a particularly dangerous type of E coli bacteria.

It told consumers to throw away any romaine they may already have bought.

Investigators have yet to find out where, when or how the contamination happened.