Romaine lettuce produced in Arizona, US suspected to be contaminated with Escherichia coli O157:H7

Issue Date 23.4.2018
Source of Information

The Food and Drug Administration of the United States

Food Product

Romaine lettuce

Product Name and Description

Romaine lettuce produced in the State of Arizona, the United States (US)

Reason For Issuing Alert
  • The Centre for Food Safety (CFS), through its Food Incident Surveillance System, noted a notice from the US Food and Drug Administration about the investigation of an outbreak of E coli infections that was likely linked to the consumption of romaine lettuce produced in the State of Arizona, which was suspected to be contaminated with E coli O157:H7. For the sake of prudence, the CFS has immediately suspended the import into and sale within Hong Kong of romaine lettuce produced in the area concerned.
Action Taken by the Centre for Food Safety
  • The CFS has informed the US authorities concerned of the import suspension and alerted the trade. It will continue to closely monitor the incident and take appropriate follow-up action.
  • The CFS has also enhanced surveillance of romaine lettuce produced in the US at import and retail levels.
Advice to the Trade
  • The trade should stop using or selling it if they possess the product concerned.
Advice to Consumers
  • People will contract E. coli causing gastro-intestinal disease through consumption of contaminated water or undercooked and contaminated foods. Intestinal bleeding and serious complications such as hemolytic uraemic syndrome (HUS) may also develop in some people.
  • Moreover, due to poor personal hygiene, person-to-person transmission of this pathogen is possible through the oral-faecal route.
  • E. coli cannot survive under high temperature and can be killed by thorough cooking.

Further Information

The CFS press release

Centre for Food Safety
Food and Environmental Hygiene Department