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Lettuce eyed in new E. coli outbreak

Federal and provincial investigators haven’t yet identified a firm source for a new E. coli outbreak in southern Ontario, but “are studying whether the outbreak is linked to lettuce.”

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) on Tuesday reported an outbreak in the Niagara, Halton, Waterloo and Guelph areas of the province.

“Once an illness pattern was identified that could be linked to food, the CFIA immediately began its investigation of potential foodborne sources,” the agency said in a release, noting it hasn’t yet confirmed a common source.

A traceback investigation will see if any concerns are identified along the supply chain, CFIA said, and the agency will look down other avenues that might turn up as a result of the traceback.

“If a food source is determined, and if there continues to be a human health risk, the CFIA will take appropriate actions which could include removing any remaining product from the marketplace and advising consumers,” the agency said.

Lettuce has been investigated before in E. coli outbreaks, including one outbreak in September in Michigan and Illinois that spilled over into southern Ontario. The province last month also saw an outbreak of E. coli infections linked to a Harvey’s restaurant in North Bay.

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