With grilling season in full force and the temperatures souring, outdoor eating and grilling is a everyday staple, however, this is also the time of year where E. Coli outbreaks are most common due to things such as undercooked meats, juices left out in the heat, and unwashed produce.
Most often, E. coli is transmitted when someone eats food that contains the bacteria. At-risk foods include undercooked ground beef (such as in hamburgers); produce grown in manure of cows, sheep, goat, or deer or washed in contaminated water; and unpasteurized dairy or juice products. E. coli outbreaks have been related to a wide variety of foods, such as fresh spinach, hamburgers, ground beef, bologna, hazelnuts, packaged cheeses, shredded lettuce, and prepackaged cookie dough.
The bacteria also can spread from person to person on unwashed hands and surfaces, by swimming in contaminated water, and from touching animals at farms or petting zoos.
Being mindful about safe food preparation can go a long way toward protecting your family from E. coli infections.
Here are a few tips to keep your family safe and E. Coli free this summer!
-Cook meat thoroughly until it reaches a temperature of at least 160°F/70°C at its thickest point.
-Thoroughly clean anything that comes into contact with raw meat.
-Choose pasteurized juices and dairy products.
-Clean raw produce well before eating.
-Teach your kids the importance of regular, thorough hand washing, especially after going to the bathroom, touching animals, or playing outside, and before eating or preparing food. They should avoid swallowing water while swimming.