Jakarta, Nov 25 (ANTARA News) - The Agriculture Ministry, through the Agricultural Quarantine Agency, guarantees that Indonesia is free from Escherichia coli (E. Coli) bacteria found in romaine lettuce, as it is currently endemic in the United States and Canada.

Head of the Agriculture Quarantine Agency (Barantan) Banun Harpini stated that as a precautionary measure, his party has guaranteed that the romaine lettuce varieties had not yet entered Indonesia.

"I have instructed all levels of quarantine to tighten supervision. If this commodity is recognized, immediate action will be taken," Banun noted in a written statement in Jakarta on Friday.

As reported by the United States Outbreak and Prevention Control Agency`s official Twitter account, this outbreak has claimed the lives of up to 50 people, and individuals are urged to not consume this lettuce in any form until they learn more about this problem.

The government has taken precautionary measures and maintained the possibility of the entry of this type of vegetable originating from any country that was hit by the outbreak.

According to Banun, Indonesian people need not harbor concerns over the threat of deadly bacteria in romaine lettuce, the reason being that Indonesia does not open lettuce import policies from both the United States and Canada, as Indonesian commodities are in fact exported to Singapore and Malaysia.

However, precautionary measures will still be taken. However, he pointed to the possibility of Indonesian people traveling to the United States and Canada and bringing souvenirs of romaine lettuce with E.coli bacteria.

"To prevent the entry of romaine lettuce from the United States and Canada or being brought by travelers from both countries, we have prepared officers at all Indonesian entry gates, with circular instructions," Banun explained.

With guarantees from the government, the people are encouraged to continue to consume local fruits and vegetables. Moreover, the quality and taste are no less inferior to similar imported products and maintain control and cropping patterns, so that they are healthier and safer.

Reporter: Antara
Editor: Eliswan Azly
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