Via the Public Health Agency of Canada: Public Health Notice - Outbreak of E.coli infections with possible link to leafy greens. Excerpt:
The Public Health Agency of Canada is collaborating with federal and provincial public health partners to investigate an outbreak of Escherichia coli O157:H7, commonly called E.coli, with a possible link to leafy greens. A specific product has not been identified yet, and the investigation is ongoing.
At this time, the risk to Canadians is low. However, Canadians are reminded to follow safe food handling practices to avoid illness.
E. coli are bacteria that live naturally in the intestines of cattle, poultry and other animals. Most E. coli are harmless to humans, but some varieties carry genes that allow them to cause illness.
While most people made ill by E. coli experience a few days of upset stomach and then recover fully, infections can sometimes be life threatening.
There have been 12 cases of E.coli with a matching genetic fingerprint reported in Alberta (9), Saskatchewan (1), Ontario (1), and Newfoundland and Labrador (1). The illness onset dates range from March 13 to March 31, 2015.
Based on the investigation findings to date, exposure to leafy greens has emerged as a possible source of illness. Leafy greens can include all varieties of lettuces and other green leaf vegetables such as kale, spinach, arugula, or chard. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s investigation into the food source is ongoing. If products are identified, the Agency will inform the public and ensure that they are promptly removed from the marketplace.
The Public Health Agency routinely investigates multi-provincial gastro-intestinal illness outbreaks, including E.coli, in an effort to determine if illnesses are linked to the same source. The Agency will update Canadians when new information becomes available.
This can be serious: Four years ago, Europe dealt with an outbreak of enterohemorrhagic E. coli, or EHEC, which killed a lot of people and sickened over a thousand. It also caused quite an upheaval in European agriculture before the source was found.