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E-Coli Are You at Risk?

Updated on November 3, 2009

E-coli are you at risk is the question that people are asking? How does meat become contaminated and what can we do about preventing our family members from becoming sick? These are just some of the questions that people are asking today. We are a technological savvy country and yet we still have children and people dying from E-Coli.

Beef is usually the meat source that we hear the most about. It isn’t all the beef but most often ground beef. The reason for this is that all cows carry E-coli 1057 in their gut. During the process of butchering and preparing the meat the bowel gets nicked or cut. The E-Coli gets onto the meat. Meat such as steaks that aren’t ground may have it on the surface and it can be decontaminated. Ground beef is different in that the process of grinding the meat mixes these bacteria into the meat.

With cuts such as steaks even if the bacteria is on the outside the external temperature when cooking the meat can kill it. With ground beef the external temperature can kill only what is on the outside but if the internal temperature is not high enough then the E-Coli are not killed. When you eat hamburger meat that is not done you consume the E-Coli. That is why it is so important to cook meat thoroughly before eating it.

Children and the elderly tend to be more prone to the devastation that this bacteria can cause. The reasons are several, such as children haven’t built the immunities up that adults have. The elderly tend to already have a compromised immune system, thus when it is attacked by E-Coli the effects are potentially deadly.

Beef is not the only meat that people can get E-Coli from. It just seems to be the most widely used. Most people think that it is just meat that they get E-Coli from, but that isn’t true. Peanut butter has been pulled from store shelves due to contamination. All of the raw vegetables especially spinach, lettuce and sprouts that are healthy for you can carry E-Coli. Liquids can carry E-Coli such as unpasteurized milk, apple juice and apple cider. Other liquids such as contaminated well water or water that is frequented by animals are other sources.

E-Coli can be transferred from animal to humans, and from humans to other humans. How do people protect themselves? The answer is simple. With meats be sure they are cooked until the meat is done is done. Be especially careful with hamburger dishes in that the meat is done throughout. For vegetables cleaning them prior to eating is one method that can help.

Hand washing with good old soap and water is the best way to prevent the spread of infection from person to person. Be sure that all meats are cooked until they are done. Have one chopping board for meats and a different one for vegetables. Be sure that you clean them well with soap and water before putting them away. Hands should be washed with soap and water before preparing food as well as after handling meat and produce.

Everyone is at risk for contracting E-Coli but with a few simple measures you can protect yourself and your family. Hand washing is the number one method of preventing the spread of any infection and especially with E-Coli. Be sure to cook meats done when preparing them for a meal.

Stronger E-Coli


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