Categorized | National News

BAHFSA Warns Of E. Coli/ Salmonella Outbreak

The Bahamas Agricultural Health and Food Safety Authority, BAHFSA is  taking no chances particularly after a recent warning in the US about E. coli and Salmonella in Romaine Lettuce, and raw turkey products respectively.  

In a press release BAHFSA  advised local consumers to throw out any lettuce products they may have that may have been bought from stores selling U.S. products. 

“The Bahamas Agricultural Health and Food Safety Authority (BAHFSA) is committed to ensuring that food for human consumption is safe and free of disease. 

“The recent E. coli outbreak and warning of Romaine Lettuce in the US  hereby extended to consumers in The Bahamas to voluntarily throw out any lettuce they may have bought from stores selling US derived lettuce products,” the statement said. 

They have also warned of an ongoing outbreak of Salmonella in raw turkey products. 

Just recently, the Centre for Disease Control in the US warned its citizens of the E. coli outbreak, although no specification on recall has been made. 

“The U.S Centre for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention is still in the process of a traceability study to determine the origin of the outbreak; hence, no recall has been made. 

“In addition, the CDC has indicated that an earlier outbreak this year is ‘not directly related” to the current outbreak which has a “slightly different DNA fingerprint’.

“Thirty-two (32) illnesses have been reported in the U.S with thirteen (13) requiring hospital care; and eighteen (18) illnesses reported in Canada,” according to the statement.  

BAHFSA said  persons who continue to consume that brand of lettuce, does so at their own risk. However, the authority advises that there are things that  can be done to mitigate any potential exposure and illness. 

The statement asks  for consumers to “wash hands before handling lettuce, thoroughly clean any containers, utensils and cutting boards to be used during preparation, wash the lettuce thoroughly over potable running water, rinse with a three or four to one ration of water to vinegar to remove any microbial presence, then again with water, keep the lettuce away from surfaces where raw food is present and place leftovers in a covered container in the refrigerator”.

The effects of consuming contaminated lettuce BAHFSA says  can result in  vomiting, stomach cramps, diarrhea, fever or loss of appetite which can last for anywhere from 12 to 24 hours to up to a week after ingestion. 

There have been no incidents associated with the recent E.coli outbreak in The Bahamas

As for the Salmonella outbreak in raw turkey products  just days before Thanksgiving, the USDA  has recalled all ground turkey due to an ongoing outbreak, one year ago. 

BAHFSA has also  cautioned consumers about raw turkey products associated with an antibiotic-resistant strain of Salmonella.

According to the statement,  “over 160 illnesses have been reported, with three hospitalizations and death in the US.

The Centre for Disease Control (CDC) has yet to identify a supplier as the source of the outbreak.  However the Jenny-O Turkey store has voluntarily recalled over 91 thousand pounds of its raw turkey products, specifically those dated October 1 or October 2, having the code “P-190” inside the USDA inspection mark.

Further, BAHFSA wishes to caution those who grocery shop in the U.S to discard any lettuce or named Jenny-O brand turkey products they may have brought upon their return into the country and have in the refrigerator and to exercise caution in purchasing all raw turkey products.  

In addition, those who may have traveled to the U.S and consumed turkey products and have become ill, should make a report with the Surveillance Unit at the Ministry of  Health.

A warning is also  given to local retailers and wholesalers who may have any of these items in their inventory to, in the case of the Romaine Lettuce , voluntarily remove them from the shelf and to discard any Jenny-O brand Turkey products named in the recall. 

Written by Jones Bahamas

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