Ministry of Health advisory on romaine lettuce

Port-of-Spain, November 28th, 2019: The Ministry of Health notifies the public that the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has advised that “consumers not eat and retailers not sell any romaine lettuce grown in the Salinas, California growing region. This includes all use-by dates and brands of romaine lettuce from this region”. This outbreak is caused by E. coli O157:H7. Some people with E. coli infections may get a type of kidney failure called hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS).

Consumers should look for a label that indicates where the romaine lettuce was grown. It may be printed on the package or on a sticker. The following actions are strongly recommended:

  • If the label says “grown in Salinas” (whether alone or with the name of another location), don’t eat the lettuce and discard/return to the place of purchase.
  • If the package isn’t labelled with a growing region, don’t eat the lettuce and discard/ return to the place of purchase.
  • If you don’t know if the lettuce is romaine or whether a salad mix or wrap contains romaine, don’t eat the lettuce and discard/ return to the place of purchase.
  • Wash and sanitize drawers or shelves in refrigerators where romaine lettuce was stored.

Until clearance is provided by the Ministry of Health, supermarkets, restaurants and wholesalers should not offer for sale, in any form (eg in salads mixes), romaine lettuce which is grown in Salinas, California or in an unconfirmed location.

Although there are no reported cases in Trinidad and Tobago of persons consuming romaine lettuce and becoming ill, it is out of an abundance of caution that this advisory is being issued to protect the health of consumers.

The Ministry will continue to monitor the situation and provide further advice to the public as and when necessary.

For further information and clarification, please contact the Chemistry Food and Drugs Division – Ministry of Health at 868-623-5242/ 623-CFDD or email at cfdd@health.gov.tt.

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