Food Safety, Preparation and Storage Tips
Cooperative Extension, College of Agriculture & Life Sciences, the University of Arizona
Recently, you may have heard about a very potent bacteria called E. coli. There have been several outbreaks of food-borne illness with E. coli around the country. It can cause severe illness and even death-especially in young children. E. coli 0157:H7 is one strain that is particularly deadly.
This bacteria can be transmitted to meat during food processing and by unsanitary food preparation methods. Most outbreaks from E. coli have been found in undercooked hamburger.
Abdominal cramps, watery or bloody diarrhea and nausea and vomiting with a low-grade fever are symptoms of this illness. Symptoms begin about 3-4 days after the meat is eaten and can last up to 10 days. Severe cases require hospitalization.
E. coli can survive both refrigeration and freezing. Proper food handling and food preparation methods are absolutely essential to prevent this food-borne illness. However, thorough cooking can kill E. coli.
To prevent food-borne illness:
For questions on food-borne illness and safe food handling, you can call the USDA Meat and Poultry hotline at 1-800-535-4555.
Remember, proper cooking and food handling CAN control food-borne illness.
Material written by Mary Abgrall
and Scottie Misner, June 1998.