Ag. Public Health Communications Specialist
Ministry of Health and Social Development
Telephone: 468-3701 ext. 852 7742
The British Virgin Islands Environmental Health Division is advising consumers not to eat any Romaine lettuce.
Retailers or retail stores and restaurants or restaurateurs, supermarkets and grocery stores are also advised not to serve or sell any Romaine lettuce. The advice is a recall recommended by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration based on findings that Romaine lettuce was contaminated with shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli O157:H7 (E. Coli O157:H7) bacteria that has caused illness in persons who consumed the lettuce that resulted in a outbreak of Foodborne Disease in the United States of America (USA).
Chief Environmental Health Officer, Mr. Lionel Michael says that this type of E. Coli (E. Coli O157:H7) is very dangerous and can cause serious illness and even death. He described it to be found in the intestines of cattle and so persons should exercise caution and adhere to the advice.
He stated that retailors, supermarkets and grocery stores have been notified and began the withdrawal exercise earlier this week.
The Environmental Health Division acting on an alert/notification received from CDC advised that consumers who have any type of Romaine lettuce in their home should throw it away, even if some of it was eaten without becoming ill.
The public is further advised to contact a healthcare/medical provider if the product has been consumed and persons show signs and symptoms of illness with after-affects. The Chief further informed that the Environmental Health Division started removing and supervising the removal and disposal for Romaine lettuce from these establishments since November 21.
All types of Romaine lettuce are being recalled which includes whole heads of romaine, hearts of romaine and bags and boxes of precut lettuce and salad mixes that contain Romaine lettuce including Baby Romaine, Spring Mix and Caesar salad. If you are unsure if a lettuce is Romaine, you are advised not to eat it. After disposing of lettuce, persons should wash and sanitise drawers or shelves in refrigerators where it was stored and wash hands with soap and water.
“I want to encourage persons to intensify efforts to prevent any foodborne diseases they can obtain from ingesting contaminated food,” said Chief Michael.
For other questions or concerns, persons are encouraged to contact the Environmental Health Division at 468-5110.
The Environmental Health Division is committed to ensuring that all aspects of the environment with the potential to negatively impact health are managed efficiently to enable all persons in the BVI to attain and maintain optimal health and social well-being.