Tips on Protecting Your Home from Ecoli

Have you heard of Ecoli but not knowing exactly what it is? E coli is a bacteria that occurs naturally in people and animals. It is in the intestines and in fecal matter. E coli can end up in food in many different ways along the production process. It can come from the surfaces used for processing, utensils or containers the food handle or from the food handlers themselves if they are sick. Ground meat is the high-risk product because it has the most surface area for the bacteria to cling to while being processed. Vegetables and fruit can at times become contaminated when water or soil gets animal waste mixed into it and then it ends up used on the produce.

E. coli could be lurking in your home undetected and the only time you will know about it is when someone gets sick. Your kitchen is the main place that E. coli would be hiding out. Food borne toxins and bacteria are usually impossible to detect. There are ways to help cut down on the risk of e coli causing you or some one else in your home from getting ill.

It is imperative that you use safe food handling precautions to keep from having E coli end up in your evening meal. It is estimated that 11 to 13 million people get sick from E coli every year. Young children, pregnant women, elderly and people that have weakened immune systems are the most likely to get severely ill and possibly need hospitalization when they come in contact with the bacteria. To minimize your risk of getting ill use a four-part cleaning system.

    • Clean: You need to wash your foods very well with running water and rub them thoroughly. You need to keep your kitchen counters and other surfaces clean and disinfected. Always use clean towels and utensils. Wash your hands often using hot while rubbing them with soap.
    • Separate: Don't risk cross-contamination by using the same cutting boards utensils, plates or any other objects when preparing fresh raw foods such as produce and cutting and preparing meats, produce and seafood. Always store raw meat on the bottom shelf of your refrigerator so it doesn't drip juices on your other foods.
    • Cook: Be sure to cook all meats, poultry and eggs thoroughly. A probe thermometer can be used to ensure your food is cooked to a temperature that is safe.
Chill: Be sure your food is kept cold and stored properly so that the growth of the harmful bacteria is unable to take hold. Keep leftovers and perishable foods refrigerated and don't leave foods to get to room temperature for over two hours. Keep your refrigerator cleared out and don't overcrowd it.

You should take extra precautions with meats, produce, dairy and eggs. High protein food is generally the highest risk for e coli. Be sure to wash all of your produce well, do not cross-contaminate and keep foods properly refrigerated. Following these steps will help to keep you healthier and keep E coli from invading your home.

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