What Is E. Coli?

Did you know that the Shiga toxin-producing E. coli makes up the majority of very serious, food-related E. coli infections in the food service industry?

Keystone - News & Insights

May 24, 2017

E. coli is a bacteria that lives in the intestines of humans, cattle and other animals. Not all types of E. coli cause food-related illness. The Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) are responsible for the majority of very serious, food-related E. coli infections that impact the foodservice environment. E. coli can cause severe damage to the lining of the intestine, kidney failure and death. Undercooked meat and fresh produce are the most likely sources of contamination.

In 2014, an outbreak* attributed to E. coli involved:

  • the recall of 1.8 million pounds of ground beef
  • incidents reported in 4 states
  • hospitalization of 58% of persons who fell ill from the bacteria

E. coli can enter a restaurant via:

  • food contaminated at its source
  • employees
  • customers

Food sources of E. coli transmission include:

  • contaminated water
  • raw produce
  • raw milk
  • unpasteurized apple cider
  • meats from cattle, sheep, goats and deer

E. coli is transmitted by:

  • consuming contaminated food or drink
  • touching contaminated people, objects or surfaces

* Source: http://www.cdc.gov/ecoli/2014/O157H7-05-14/index.html

Read more about E. coli at the CDC


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