Canadian E. coli outbreak not meat related
OTTAWA – Health authorities say there is no link to meat consumption in the discovery of two more cases of E. coli O157:H7 illness recently confirmed in Ontario as part of an ongoing outbreak, bringing the total number of people becoming ill between late December and early January to 28. The latest evidence in the Public Health Agency of Canada's foodborne illness investigation indicates the likely cause of the illnesses in the Maritimes and Ontario is shredded lettuce distributed by FreshPoint Inc. primarily to some KFC and KFC-Taco Bell restaurants. Suspected products were not distributed at retail.
Because lettuce has a short shelf-life, the Canadian government contends contaminated products are unlikely to still be available.
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is working with FreshPoint Inc. to recall remaining affected products. The source of contamination for the shredded lettuce has not yet been determined. CFIA said the origin of the lettuce is in California and it has notified US authorities of this finding.
In the meantime, the CFIA is verifying appropriate food-safety controls were followed at each step of production, processing and distribution.