PRINCE GEORGE - A local food security specialist says the recent E.coli outbreak should serve as a wake up call for people to know where their food comes from.
Whether it's purchased from a grocery store or served in a restaurant, many North Americans are staying away from romaine lettuce. The Public Health Agency of Canada is suggesting people in Quebec and Ontario shouldn't eat any romaine lettuce. There have been 22 confirmed cases of E.coli in those locations, sending 6 people to hospital.
"Not everybody is really careful, most people will flick the lettuce under the water a couple times and hope for the best. Given that this is a very dangerous outbreak of E-coli it doesn't just cause Gastroenteritis, there is actual kidney failures happening. I am not the person to encourage people to get rid of good food...get rid of this romaine," says Environmental Studies Professor and Food Security Specialist, Annie Booth.
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency has not yet issued a recall on the romaine lettuce because the source of the outbreak hasn't been identified.
"If it's local, if you're purchasing local you have a better chance of both ensuring you know who is producing it and what some of the inputs are, as well as if there are problems, it's much easier to trace back. Most food goes through multiple different handlers, one of the problems they're having with the romaine lettuce issue right now is they don't know where it came from, it could have come from multiple sources," adds Booth.
Although the outbreak is centred in Quebec and Ontario, grocery giants like, Loblaw, Sobeys and Walmart have decided to stop selling romaine lettuce at their stores nationwide. In Prince George, The Real Canadian Superstore, Save-On-Foods and Walmart have removed their romaine lettuce as well.
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