"And if you can't confirm that romaine lettuce isn't from Salinas, consumers should avoid it".
"Restaurants and retailers should not serve or sell romaine lettuce if they can not confirm it is from outside Salinas", said Frank Yiannas, deputy commissioner for food policy and response at the FDA.
"Although an outbreak is not occurring in Canada, the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) has identified one Canadian illness with a similar genetic fingerprint to illnesses reported in the US investigation", the agency noted in a press release on Friday.
Epidemiologic, laboratory, and traceback evidence indicate that romaine lettuce from the Salinas, California growing region is a likely source of this outbreak.
The FDA said it's traced the outbreak to romaine lettuce from Salinas, California.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Wednesday that it expanded its salad recall.
"Leafy greens, such as lettuce, can become contaminated in the field by soil, water, animals or improperly composted manure", the agency noted. The agency said its inquiry led investigators to farms in Salinas and that they were looking for the contamination source.
The move comes after Maryland health authorities linked recent illnesses to a Caesar salad mix distributed by a New Jersey-based food company, Missa Bay, LLC, which voluntarily recalled approximately 75,233 pounds of salad products, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service.
Of those who have been sickened in this outbreak by E. coli O157: H7, 28 people have been hospitalized, including five who have developed a type of kidney failure. "Very frustrating all around", said Trevor Suslow of the Produce Marketing Association. "The other is more severe, and that is the concern in this case [as it's one of the strains of E.coli] that produces Shiga toxin, and that it associated with bloody diarrhea, severe abdominal pain and sometimes a low-grade fever".
The investigation is ongoing to determine other potential sources of contamination and if additional products are linked to illness. Here is a full list of products that are being recalled.