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E. coli: Where does it come from?

8 Aug
E. coli: Where does it come from?
E. coli, short for Escherichia coli, is a type of bacteria commonly found in the intestines of animals and humans. There are hundreds of strains of the bacterium, but E. coli O157:H7 has been identified as the most dangerous to people, producing a powerful toxin that can cause severe illness.
E. coli O157:H7 can contaminate ground beef during the butchering process. If it is present in the intestines of the slaughtered animal, it can get into the meat as it is ground into hamburger.
The bacteria is also found in unpasteurized milk and apple cider, ham, turkey, chicken, roast beef, sandwich meats, raw vegetables, cheese and contaminated water. A deadly E. coli outbreak in 2006 was traced to spinach grown in California. Bean and alfalfa sprouts have also been recalled due to E. coli contamination.
Fruits and vegetables that grow close to the ground are susceptible to E. coli contamination if, for example, improperly composted cattle manure is used as a fertilizer.
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