Leafy greens are a common culprit of foodborne diseases, produced by e. A severe strain of coli has been linked to 40 outbreaks, from 2009 to 2018, a report published on Wednesday in the journal Emerging Infectious Disease found.
Amidst those outbreaks, one particular latent one gets the blame: Romain. (Recall 2018, two massive Rome-associated E.coli outbreaks occurred in a year?)
Of the outbreaks associated with a typical leafy green color – rather than a mixture – 54 percent were associated with Rome. Spinach and iceberg lettuce were associated with 17 percent of each outbreak, and cabbage, green leaf, and banana were each associated with 4 percent.
It is not entirely clear why Rome was the most common culprit in the outbreaks. Researchers said, for example, that every year from 2009 to 2017 more iceberg lettuce was harvested and sold than romaine.
During the analysis the popularity of romaine increased, researchers wrote: by the end of the study period, more money was spent on Romaine lettuce than on Iceberg. But this alone does not explain why Romain was responsible for so many outbreaks.
Another possible explanation, the researchers said, is the size of the lettuce, which may provide an entry point for pathogens: “Romine is long with loosely tufted leaves, open at the top; the iceberg is short with compact leaves.”
Other outbreaks were associated with mixed greens, including three romaine and iceberg mixes, a butter lettuce and radicio mixture, and a spinach and spring mix.
A type of e. The report focused on coli outbreaks Shiga toxin-producing E. Called coli or STEC. The name refers to a toxin produced by bacteria that makes people sick. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, symptoms may include diarrhea and vomiting. Most people recover on their own within 5 to 7 days, although some may require medical care.
According to the report, the decade of outbreaks in the United States, Canada or both countries was 1,212 illnesses, 420 hospitals and eight deaths. In a total of 77 cases of hemolytic uremic syndrome, kidney problems that require hospitalization were also attributed to the outbreak.
According to the report, Shiga toxin producer E. Coli is associated with approximately 265,000 diseases each year in the US. One type of STEC specifically, STEC O157, causes more severe disease. The most common source of this infection is ground beef, followed by leafy greens. Indeed, STEC O157 was responsible for 32 of the outbreaks described in the report.
Although leafy greens are grown year-round in the US, more outbreaks began in October and April than in any month of the year. The study authors wrote that it is unclear why the outbreak occurred this season.
Benjamin Chapman, a North Carolina State University professor and food safety expert, said there are several reasons why leafy greens specifically e. Coli are susceptible to contamination, how crops are cultivated, Benjamin Chapman, a professor and food safety expert.
A report said, “The majority of lettuce production is outside and requires a lot of water.” And in the US, it is mostly grown in areas where animals – e. A source of coli – is also raised. E. Coli contamination can come from sources such as irrigation water, animals, and handling.
“We know from earlier outbreaks that a little bit of contamination in the area can cause cross contamination,” he said.
Chapman said that once that contamination made it to the plant, “it is very difficult to remove.” He said that production in processing plants is triple-washing, and that at home, a person may be able to “rinse 90 to 99 percent of what’s there, but it may not be enough.” , Depends on it.
And because lettuce is almost always eaten raw or undercooked, “whatever contamination makes it to the plate ends up in the gut,” he said.
Avoiding the outbreak altogether is, unfortunately, a supply chain issue, he said.
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