Health officials in the U.S. and Canada told people Tuesday to stop eating romaine lettuce because of a new E. coli outbreak.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said it is working with officials in Canada on the outbreak, which has sickened 32 people in 11 states and 18 people in the Canadian provinces of Ontario and Quebec.
The strain identified is different than the one linked to romaine earlier this year but appears similar to last year’s outbreak linked to leafy greens.
FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said the agency doesn’t have enough information to ask suppliers for a recall, but he suggested that supermarkets and restaurants should withdraw romaine until the source of the contamination can be identified. People are also being advised to throw out any romaine they have at home.
The contaminated lettuce is likely still on the market, Gottlieb told The Associated Press in a phone interview.
He said FDA wanted to issue a warning before people gathered for Thanksgiving meals, where the potential for exposure could increase.
“We did feel some pressure to draw conclusions as quickly as we could,” he said.
In Canada, officials issued similar warnings to the two provinces where people were sickened. They said there was no evidence to suggest people in other parts of the country had been affected.
Most romaine sold this time of year is grown in California, Gottlieb said. The romaine lettuce linked to the E. coli outbreak earlier this year was from Yuma, Arizona. Tainted irrigation water appeared to be the source of that outbreak, which sickened about 200 people and killed five.