Latest recall - lettuce with E. coli

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In the latest scare over foods contaminated by the bacteria E. coli, another Californian grower has recalled a product, but this time it is not spinach or ground beef, but lettuce.

The Nunes company of Salinas valley have recalled their Foxy brand of green-leaf lettuce because of possible contamination with E. coli.

The recall comes only weeks after tainted spinach from the same region was withdrawn from grocery shelves across the nation which has been linked to an outbreak of the bacteria across 26 states in the U.S. and has to date caused three deaths.

This latest recall will leave consumers with little confidence in health and sanitary procedures and conditions in the farming area.

The company says it is not aware of any illnesses from the lettuce and the recall is a precautionary measure after E. coli was found in a reservoir used for irrigation.

The lettuce has been distributed to grocery stores and restaurants in Arizona, California, Nevada, Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Montana.

As many as 8,500 cartons of the lettuce have been recalled already, but up to 300 cartons are still unaccounted for.

Consumers who have purchased the lettuce are advised to discard it or return it for a refund.

It was just recently that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the FBI served search warrants at Natural Selection Foods LLC in San Juan Bautista and Growers Express in Salinas in an effort to find out if the companies followed proper procedures to keep spinach safe.

They have since declared that spinach is safe to eat again, but did warn that tighter regulations might be needed to prevent further outbreaks among California growers.

The FDA says it is looking into the lettuce recall.

E. coli lives in the intestines of cattle and other animals and is commonly traced to contamination by the faeces of animals.

It is thought to be responsible for as many as 60 deaths and 73,000 infections a year in the United States.

E. coli is a common and usually harmless bacteria, but some strains can cause diarrhea and kidney failure and those most at risk are the elderly, the very young and those with compromised immune systems.

The FDA has stressed that there is no evidence that anyone has intentionally tainted the spinach.

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