E. Coli Threat In Beef

E. Coli Threat In Beef

E. coli is the abbreviation given to Escherichia coli, which is a type of bacteria found in many organisms. Most people living in the United States have a few bacteria in their systems and do not suffer any problems. Larger amounts of e. Coli can cause some symptoms. That is why the United States Department of Agriculture follows outbreaks and works hard to keep Americans safe.

Where is E. Coli Found?

Though e. Coli is common in most humans, it can also be found in certain types of foods. Raw fruits and vegetables often contain e. Coli, which is why experts recommend that people thoroughly wash those foods before eating. The most common location for e. Coli is in raw meat. The Mexican restaurant chain Chi-Chi’s filed for bankruptcy and went out of business after shipping contaminated ingredients to many of its restaurants. After diners became sick and the government investigated, the chain found itself closing its doors due to the aftermath. The USDA now investigates all potential claims of e. Coli outbreaks.

Preventing Outbreaks

Those who suffer from an e. Coli outbreak often assume that they have a mild case of food poisoning. The CDC recommends that chefs use a food thermometer and keep track of the internal meats when cooking. Meats should reach a temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit or higher before serving. It’s equally important that those cooking in their homes wash their hands before, during and after cooking. Using different knives and cutting surfaces for various foods are other ways to prevent e. Coli outbreaks. E. coli may also spread from contaminated drinking water or shared water sources, including hot tubs and swimming pools.

Common Symptoms

Symptoms of e. Coli can appear in those affected anywhere from one day to one week after eating contaminated foods. The most common symptom found in patients is diarrhea, also known as a loose or uncontrollable stool. Many patients will also suffer some form of cramping, which can range from a dull and mild ache to a more severe cramping that worsens when standing or moving. Some patients, especially children and the elderly, may suffer from nausea as well. That nausea can eventually lead to vomiting.

What Patients Should Do

Many patients deal with food poisoning on their own. They can use over the counter medications designed to stop their diarrhea and reduce their cramps and other pains. Those with weakened immune systems, including those suffering from certain medical conditions and children, should seek help from a medical doctor. Doctors can replenish the fluids that patients lose and ensure that they eat healthy until they recover. A small number of patients may also see blood in their stool. Those who see red streaks or red clots should instantly seek help from a medical provider.

USDA Alerts

The USDA uses its Food Safety and Inspection Service to keep those living in the United States safe. After investigating claims of an e. Coli outbreak that left some people sick in Georgia, the FSIS requested that the manufacturer of the ground meat recall thousands of pounds of meat shipped across the state. The USDA orders similar recalls every year after determining that contaminated meat and other products reached store shelves. Customers concerned about their health and the health of their families can contact the USDA and view recall and new announcements on the FSIS website. Stores will also list information about recalls that consumers can find inside each shop.