Entries in E. Coli (13)


E. Coli Concerns Spur Recall for Romaine Lettuce 

iStockphotoThinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- A California supplier is voluntarily recalling its romaine lettuce over concerns the product may be contaminated with E. coli, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

The FDA said Sunday that the affected product was limited to a single lot of Tanimura & Antle Field Fresh Wrapped Single Head Romaine and may have a "best buy" date of Aug. 19, 2012.

More than 2,000 cases of potentially contaminated product were distributed across the United States and Canada since Aug. 2.  The company said that 1,969 cases were shipped to 19 states and Puerto Rico.

Watch the ABC News report here:

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Fecal Matter Hiding in Hotel Rooms

Comstock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Picking up the remote control in a hotel room may also mean picking up fecal matter, a new study found.

Researchers from the University of Houston swabbed 19 hotel room hideouts, from door handles to headboards, and found the fecal bacterium E. coli hiding on 81 percent of the surfaces, including the remote control, the telephone and the bedside lamp.

“Currently, housekeeping practices vary across brands and properties with little or no standardization industry wide,” Katie Kirsch, an undergraduate student at the University of Houston and author of the study presented at the General Meeting of the American Society for Microbiology, said in a statement. This study “could aid hotels in adopting a proactive approach for reducing potential hazards … and provide a basis for the development of more effective and efficient housekeeping practices.”

The maid cart may be a villain, and not the hero in the fight against contamination, according to the study, which found bacteria blooming on mops and sponges used to clean rooms.

Housekeepers clean about up to 16 rooms in an eight hour shift, leaving just 30 minutes on each room, according to Kirsch.

“Identifying high-risk items within a hotel room would allow housekeeping managers to strategically design cleaning practices and allocate time to efficiently reduce the potential health risks posed by microbial contamination in hotel rooms,” she said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


USDA Expands E.Coli Testing of Ground Beef

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Food inspectors from the U.S. Department of Agriculture will start testing ground beef for six additional strains of the dangerous bacteria E. coli beginning on Monday. The new, quicker testing is designed to detect contaminated meat faster -- before it enters the food supply.

"These strains of E. coli are an emerging threat to human health and the steps we are taking today are entirely focused on preventing Americans from suffering foodborne illnesses," Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said. "We cannot ignore the evidence that these pathogens are a threat in our nation's food supply."

Samples testing positive for a dangerous strain of E. coli will be taken out of stores and could be subject to a recall.

There are currently more than 700 different strains of the bacteria. Food scientists say most types are harmless, but some can attack your intestines and cause serious problems.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Raw Cookie Dough Linked to E. Coli Outbreak

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(ATLANTA) -- Licking the spoon for a couple tastes of raw cookie dough is an added bonus to the baking process, especially at holiday time, but the risk of falling ill from the batter might be greater than once thought.

New research published in the journal Clinical Infectious Disease found that the culprit of a 2009 multi-state E. coli outbreak was none other than the ready-to-bake prepackaged cookie dough found in most grocery stores. At the time of the outbreak, 77 people from 30 states became ill from the bad batter. About half of those people got so sick they had to be hospitalized.

After a thorough investigation, researchers at the Centers for Disease Control still have yet to fully pinpoint the ingredient in the cookie dough that caused the outbreak, but CDC study author Dr. Karen Neil said researchers believe the problem was in the flour. Raw flour does not go through the same rigorous process to kill pathogens the way in which eggs, molasses and sugar do in commercial products.

“You should not consume raw cookie dough or any other raw product that’s intended to be baked or cooked, and food should always be prepared according to the recipe or instructions,” Neil told ABC News.

Because eating raw cookie dough is such a popular pastime (during the investigation, several people noted that they bought the uncooked batter with the intention to eat it as is), CDC researchers recommended manufacturers make the product safer as a ready-to-eat product. They also noted that more consumer education should be available about the risks of eating raw products such as cookie dough.

But Dr. William Schaffner, chairman of the department of preventive medicine at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine in Nashville, said characterizing eating cookie dough as a risky behavior might be a bit of a stretch. It’s similar to eating a hamburger or steak rare or medium rare, he said.

“Eating cookie dough is part of growing up,” Schaffner said. “We know people are going to do it. It’s too delicious. It’s too much of a habit. To ask people not to do it is like whistling in a graveyard.”

Nevertheless, Schaffner did note that commercial cookie dough companies should heed the CDC’s advice by making sure its raw products are safe to consume as is.

“In the modern world, we have the potential to distribute a tainted product to a lot of people, so manufacturers should process the materials safely and expect that it could be eaten raw,” Schaffner said.

As you bake up a storm this holiday season, Neil recommended to visit to learn about the best ways to handle raw and uncooked foods to keep you and your family safe and healthy.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


CDC Investigates E. Coli in Romaine Lettuce

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(ATLANTA) -- The CDC is investigating an E. coli outbreak that has sickened dozens of people in 10 states -- and all signs point to romaine lettuce as the likely culprit.

The outbreak appeared to have ended last month, but not before 60 people were stricken by E. coli. Half were hospitalized. Two victims suffered kidney failure.

No product names were revealed and there’s no practical advice for consumers.

The CDC reported that many of the ill ate from a salad bar at an unidentified grocery store chain that sourced its lettuce “from a single lettuce processing facility via a single distributor.”

“This indicates that contamination of romaine lettuce likely occurred before the product reached grocery store Chain A locations,” the investigation announcement said.

Illnesses also were reported by people who ate salad at university campuses in Minnesota and Missouri.

Ilnesses were reported in the following states: Arizona (1), Arkansas (2), Georgia (1), Illinois (9), Indiana (2), Kansas (3), Kentucky (1), Minnesota (3), Missouri (37), and Nebraska (1).

The FDA last month announced the recall of bagged romaine lettuce because of possible E. coli contamination. It was unclear whether that recall bears any relation to Wednesday’s CDC announcement.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Cellphones Harbor Dangerous Bacteria: Researchers

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(LONDON) -- It’s a variation on an old theme: wash your hands...and your cellphone, too!

A study conducted by two leading London universities finds that poor hygiene can lead to dirty, germ-infested -- and perhaps dangerous -- cellphones.

“If your hands are really dirty, there's a good chance that you phone is going to be really dirty,” said Dr. Ron Cutler from the University of London.

After swabbing nearly 400 phones, researchers found that one in six devices on average harbored E. coli bacteria, something that can easily be picked in the bathroom if you don't wash your hands properly.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Tyson Fresh Meats Recalls 131,000 Lbs of Ground Beef with E. Coli

Duncan Smith/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- If you've recently bought beef, you may want to check it before sinking your teeth in it.

Tyson Fresh Meats is recalling about 131,000 pounds of ground beef that's contaminated with E. Coli. At least four people have gotten sick from the outbreak, although no deaths have been reported.

"If people do have it in their freezer, we would say please discard it," says David Sweat, an epidemiologist at the North Carolina Division of Public Health.

"You may contaminate your kitchen in some way, contaminate your hands, accidentally affect yourself or your children so it's probably best just not to, to deal with it at all," he added.

The meat was sold in 14 states at Kroger, Food Lion and other supermarkets.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Beef, Cantaloupe Recalls: Tips for Preventing E. Coli, Listeriosis

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Tyson Fresh Meats Inc. is recalling 131,000 pounds of ground beef that may have been contaminated with E. coli, U.S. Dept. of Agriculture officials said Wednesday.

This comes on the heels of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s assessment earlier Wednesday that the outbreak of listeria among cantaloupe from Colorado’s Jensen Farms has been the deadliest in a decade.

The CDC put the death toll from listeria poisoning at 13, while 72 people have been infected.

To date, there have been no reported illnesses connected to Tyson's voluntary beef recall.

Symptoms of listeriosis begins with muscle aches and high fever.

E.coli is often associated with severe diarrhea and vomiting.

You should consult a physician if you suspect you have been infected with either of the bacteria.

High-risk groups for both bacteria include the elderly, pregnant women, infants and others with compromised immune systems.

If you are concerned that you have bought contaminated products, there are steps you can take to help prevent E. coli and listeriosis in your household:

-- The CDC and the Food and Drug Administration recommend that you immediately throw away any food that was recalled and you think could be contaminated. For ground beef, all the products recalled have a “Best Before” or “Freeze Before” date of Sept. 12, 2011. Click here for more information from the USDA on specific brands that were affected. For cantaloupe, Jensen’s Amy Philpott told ABC News the farm shipped more than 300,000 cases across the U.S. between July 29 and Sept. 10. The farm voluntarily recalled its cantaloupes on Sept. 14 in response to the multi-state outbreak of listeria.

-- Do not try to wash the harmful bacteria from the cantaloupe. It could seep into the inside of the fruit.

-- It’s recommended that you wipe down with bleach the inside and door handle on your refrigerator, as well as your kitchen surfaces and cutting boards, if you believe you bought contaminated products.


Here are additional everyday tips you can follow to prevent a listeriosis or E. coli contamination, recommended by the CDC:

-- Thoroughly cook raw food from animal sources such as beef, pork or poultry to a safe internal temperature.

-- Rinse raw vegetables thoroughly under running water before eating.

-- Keep uncooked meats and poultry separate from vegetables and from cooked foods and ready-to-eat foods.

-- Do not drink raw and unpasteurized milk and do not eat foods that have unpasteurized milk in them.

-- Eat perishable and ready-to-eat foods as soon as possible.

-- Clean up spills in your refrigerator right away.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Eight Tips to Prevent Foodborne Illness

Medioimages/Photodisc(WASHINGTON) -- More than 48 million Americans get sick from foodborne disease each year, mostly because they consume raw or undercooked food, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

While most cases of food-related illnesses are not serious and last about a couple days, it's hard to tell which exposure could turn more serious.

But there are ways to prevent harmful bacteria from contaminating your food and potentially making you sick.

  • Don't leave foods that need to be chilled sitting out. Refrigerate and freeze necessary foods right away.
  • Do use a meat thermometer to make sure your food is cooked thoroughly.
  • Do wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with warm, soapy water before and after handling any raw meats, fruits, and vegetables.
  • Do wash utensils and disinfect surfaces before and after use.
  • Don't defrost food on the kitchen counter. Instead, use the refrigerator, cold running water, or the microwave oven.
  • Don't let food marinate at room temperature.
  • Keep marinating food refrigerated.
  • Don't over-pack the refrigerator.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Hazelnuts Linked to Three-State E. Coli Outbreak

Goodshoot/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Three states and the federal government are investigating an outbreak of E. coli linked to in-shell hazelnuts purchased from bulk food bins at grocery stores. Seven cases have been reported, according to the Minnesota Department of Health, one agency involved in the investigation. Minnesota and Wisconsin both had three cases and one case was reported in Michigan.

"Agriculture agencies in the three states and the California Department of Public Health traced hazelnuts consumed by cases to a common distributor in California, DeFranco and Sons," the Minnesota Department of Health said in a statement Friday. "This firm has recalled all hazelnut and mixed nut products distributed from November 2, 2010, to December 22, 2010. Recalled product was shipped to stores in Minnesota, Iowa, Michigan, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wisconsin.”

Consumers are advised to visit the Minnesota Department of Agriculture's website for a full list of stores that sold the nuts.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio