Food Talk And Fabulous Finds - E-Coli help!

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03-12-2009, 02:54 PM
My family (including my 2 year old) ate beef which has been recalled due to possible e-coli contamination.


I am all set to sanitize my kitchen using the bleach solution listed on the CFIA website; however, I want to know what additional precautions I should take.

There has been other food on the same counter on which I prepared the meat -- vegetables and fruit; cheese, bread, peanut butter, oil. My husband's adamant about throwing out EVERYTHING, just to be safe. I washed the counter after the meat was on it (in its package); however, I didn't sanitize it after the meat was on it.

Has anyone been through this before and have any advice? None of us is showing symptoms of illness, but it's only been a few days since we ate the beef.

03-12-2009, 03:33 PM
I recently came down with a nasty case of Campylobacter and found the CDC website to be very helpful - is the link to their E-Coli page

03-12-2009, 03:41 PM
Once you've eaten the product, there probably isn't much you can do. One thing that wouldn't hurt for the adults, and could possibly help, would be to take a good quality probiotic (good bacteria). In theory, taking good microbes could crowd out the e. Coli microbes, reducing the chance of infection. You might call your pediatrician to see if that would be recommended for the little ones. As I said, they're generally recognized as safe for adults, and it couldn't HURT, you know?

Keep in mind, though, that food recalls are issued if there is even a SMALL chance that your product was contaminated, and even if it was, the chance of getting sick at all are only moderate, and the chances of getting seriously ill are VERY small. And assuming that the beef was cooked, you've reduced your risk further. Take precautions, but try not to freak out too much.

03-12-2009, 05:01 PM
I had not thought about probiotics. Would yogurt help with that

03-12-2009, 05:53 PM
Yogurt is one way to get probiotics. You can also go to a health food store and get one in capsule form - they tend to give you a more beneficial dose than yogurt and the dosage is standardized.

Shannon in ATL
03-12-2009, 06:31 PM
I teach food safety classes, so here are a few points I can tell you:

-If you have been exposed to E Coli 0157:H7 you will likely see the first symptoms in your child. Children and elderly are the most susceptible.
-E Coli 0157:H7 doesn't thrive without a host (food, water) so if it is simply on the countertop, a cutting board or the outside of a peanut butter jar it can be washed off with some bleach solution, clorox wipes, etc. pretty easily.
-If fresh fruit was lying where raw meat was then you might want to discard the fruit. Up to you. I would just wash it really well if it were me, probably.
-Cooking an item to an internal temperature of 155 degrees for fifteen seconds will kill the E Coli o157:H7 bacteria. Higher temps can be held for shorter times, lower temps for longer. 155 is food industry standard.
-Make sure that you guys all wash your hands well for the next little while, as you can shed the bacteria for several weeks. E Coli 0157:H7 is transferred by fecal contact. That is often how it transfers with small children - poopy diapers & stuff gets on your hands or kid goes potty with no hand washing...
-And, as Amanda said - most of the products involved in a food recall are not infected. They recall everything that had a possibility of contamination or exposure. If you are careful, cook to a good internal temperature, use clearly identified solid surface cutting boards (different one for chicken, other meats, veggies/fruit - mine are color coded), clean up well after each use and don't cross contaminate you are probably fine.

03-12-2009, 08:36 PM
If you tend to cook your beef fairly well, your risk is even lower (Cooking kills e.coli). The greatest risk of e.coli infection in daily life isn't from food, it's from coming in contact, such as shaking hands, with someone who hasn't washed their hands after using the bathroom (because e.coli are poop bacteria). Luckily, most of us are immune to many strains of e. coli (if the strain is from a local source, your chances of being immune are greater).

If it's been several days, I believe you are relatively safe, but it wouldn't hurt to call your health department and ask their advice on the matter.

03-13-2009, 01:29 AM
Thank you all for your advice and help with this!