Over 90% of leafy green vegetables consumed in Canada are grown in California;
Due to run off from cattle feedlots getting into irrigation water, leafy greens now cause more E.coli outbreaks than any other food, including beef;
Since 2009, there have been 43 E.coli outbreaks linked to leafy greens;
When people test positive for an E.coli infection, Public Health is notified;
Eventually, if enough people are sickened and a common link is found, a recall is issued;
Often, by time the contaminated greens are identified most of the damage is already done;
In the case of the romaine lettuce outbreak of 2018, people began getting sick on October 11, infections peaked on October 28, and trailed off until November 11, the recall was issued on November 20;
In response to the 2006 spinach outbreak that sickened hundreds and killed five people, the California Leafy Green Marketing Agreement (LGMA) was formed;
98% of farms growing leafy greens in California are members of the LGMA;
Recently, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency put in place a temporary import measure that required romaine lettuce grown in California to be accompanied by a certificate from a laboratory confirming that the lettuce had below-detectable levels of E.coli;
The import measure went into effect on October 7, 2020 and ended on December 31, 2020; and
All leafy green vegetables are at risk, and outbreaks are happening all year long.
We, the undersigned, citizens of Canada, call upon the Government of Canada to require all vegetables grown by the LGMA to be accompanied by an official certificate from an accredited laboratory confirming that the product has below-detectable levels of E.coli.
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