5 Tips for Food Safety (Combating E-coli)

I don’t know about where you are at, but here in NE Tennessee, we have 11 confirmed cases of E-coli, in four counties. There are also 2 confirmed cases is SW VA. The Regional Health Office Officials are considering the cases an outbreak. The most severe case is currently in ICU in Knoxville.  A 2 year old girl was flown in from Va to the Niswonger Children’s Hospital earlier this week, and lost her battle for life. Officials are still interviewing those who have become sick with E-coli to discover it’s origin. Officials are also saying that they are dealing with two different strains of E-coli.

*Above information is from WCYB News

While there is no reason to be afraid of fresh produce from the market or your own garden, there are some precautions you can take to help prevent this  infection from spreading.

Cook Ground Beef well done. Processing exposes every inch of the meat, cooking till well done ensures proper temperature is reached and any bacteria is killed. This should also include tenderized meats.

Wash all vegetables thoroughly. While some people are using soap to wash the vegetables with, this is NOT a good idea. Soap is a chemical that you can end up leaving on the vegetable. I found a good product to use when washing vegetables is Fit Fruit and Vegetable Wash. I use this, even on veggies from my own garden, and it does not leave a greasy feeling, nor does it absorb into the veggies. When washing potatoes or carrots, use a scrub brush, but NOT one you use every day. Get a new one just for your veggies and keep it away from your cleaners!

Sanitize and Clean! Clean and sanitize counter tops, cutting boards, refrigerator shelves, utensils, and HANDS when dealing with raw meats. Use separate cutting boards for fruits / veggies, and raw meats. Use a good sanitizer and hot water to clean your surfaces, the  dish washer works best, as it extends the time the surfaces are exposed to water at temps higher then 120° F

Avoid high risk foods. Unpasteurized dairy products, and juices, and (while this seems too common sense to mention), steer clear of feces. I know, who’s gonna play in poo???

Don’t swallow the water! Whether in your pool, the creek, pond or lake. Some kinds of E. coli cause disease by producing something called Shiga toxin. Infections start when you swallow invisible Shiga toxin-producing E. coli — in other words, when you get tiny amounts of human or animal feces in your mouth.

What are some of the things you are doing to keep your family safe from bacterias?