NAREI restricts importation of Romaine Lettuce over E. Coli outbreak

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The National Agricultural Research and Extension Institute (NAREI) on Monday issued a notice to all importers that it has temporarily restricted the importation of Romaine Lettuce owing to an outbreak of E.Coli in the United States.

In a short statement, the entity also said it will not be issuing permits to import the commodity and will be recalling all permits issued within the past three months for the importation of the commodity.

Escherichia coli (E. coli) is a bacterium commonly found in the gut of warm-blooded organisms. Most strains of E. coli are not harmful but are part of the healthful bacterial flora in the human gut, however, some types can cause illness in humans, including diarrhea, abdominal pain, fever, and sometimes vomiting, NAREI said.

“The restriction will be removed when Guyana is notified by the United States of America FDA that there is no threat to the Romaine Lettuce,” the agriculture agency noted.

NAREI on October 21 issued a statement noting that it is tightening up on the importation of citrus, peppers and cabbages.

The importers will have to obtain the requisite permission from the National Plant Protection Organization, which will determine whether the commodities adhere to the necessary phytosanitary requirements and pest risk analysis.

The Institute is especially guarding against the importation of any citrus products such oranges, limes, grapefruit, and tangerines to guard against the “citrus greening” disease which it said could devastate the entire citrus industry.

Citrus Greening –a disease called Huanglongbing – renders the fruit inedible by making it more acidic and abnormally bitter.

Importers have complained bitterly about the restrictions but NAREI’s Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Udho Homenauth alleged that the products were being imported without a permit.

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