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S'pore's romaine lettuce not imported from Arizona, where E. Coli outbreak has claimed first fatality

​SINGAPORE – Salad lovers can put their minds at ease after the Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA) said that the Republic does not import romaine lettuce from Yuma, Arizona.

AVA has assured that Singapore does not import romaine lettuce from Yuma, Arizona, after an E. Coli outbreak linked to the vegetable grown at the American county claimed its first fatality in the United States.

AVA has assured that Singapore does not import romaine lettuce from Yuma, Arizona, after an E. Coli outbreak linked to the vegetable grown at the American county claimed its first fatality in the United States.

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SINGAPORE – Salad lovers can put their minds at ease after the Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA) said that the Republic does not import romaine lettuce from Yuma, Arizona.

AVA's assurance came after an E. Coli outbreak linked to the vegetable grown at the American county had claimed its first fatality in the United States.

Responding to queries, a spokesperson from the AVA said on Friday (May 4): "Based on our records, there is no import of lettuce from Yuma region into Singapore".

On Wednesday, the US' Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that one person from California died while at least 121 people from 25 states had fallen ill due to an E. Coli outbreak linked to romaine lettuce that began in April.

The reported strain of E. Coli, which produces poisonous substances known as Shiga toxins, can cause severe stomach cramps, bloody diarrhoea and vomiting.

The illnesses appear to stem from romaine lettuce grown in the Yuma region, and the CDC has warned restaurants and consumers to avoid the vegetable unless they can confirm that it was grown in a different region.

In late fall and winter, most bagged romaine lettuce comes from the Yuma growing region. But with winter over, production is shifting to the Salinas Valley in California.

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said most victims reported eating a salad at a restaurant, and romaine lettuce was the only common ingredient identified among the salads eaten. The restaurants reported using bagged and chopped romaine lettuce to make salads.

However, an FDA official said "most of the illnesses linked to the Romaine outbreak are not linked to the Romaine lettuce from (the Yuma) farm". Investigations into dozens of other fields as potential sources of the chopped Romaine lettuce are ongoing.

Nevertheless, the CDC has urged people not to eat or buy romaine lettuce unless they can confirm it is not from the Yuma growing region.

Meanwhile, the AVA reminds Singaporeans to observe good food safety to minimise food poisoning.

For instance, when preparing food, the AVA reminds individuals to thoroughly wash their food and keep their hands and workspace in the kitchen clean.

"Mishandling of food, especially during preparation, is one of the leading causes of food-borne illnesses," said the AVA.

In its guidelines on Good Food Safety Practices, the statutory board also advises individuals to rinse all fruits and vegetables thoroughly in a basin of tap water to "remove any dirt, bacteria or chemical residues" and to soak them in a basin of fresh tap water for 15 minutes. WITH AGENCIES

 

 

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