November 21, 2019

Beef is Source of Most E. coli Outbreaks

Beef is the source of most E. coli outbreaks, according to a new federal study by the Food Safety Analytics Collaboration of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). The study was conducted to provide information that can be used to develop better food poisoning prevention measures.

Of the 952 outbreaks attributed to one pathogen during the 14-year study period, 170 were caused by E.coli. Of those, 97 were caused by beef, 29 were caused by row vegetables, 18 were caused by dairy, 11 by fruit, 6 by sprouts, 4 by game, 2 by meat other than beef, pork, turkey chicken or game and 1 each by chicken, turkey and other produce.

E. coli PhotoSymptoms of an E.coli infection which include abdominal cramping and bloody diarrhea, usually set in about three days after exposure, but can take up to a week to develop. Symptoms can last a week or more. Complications include hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) which leads to kidney failure

One year ago, a four-state E. coli outbreak was linked to ground beef produced by Wolverine Packing Co. of Detroit. The outbreak, seventh-largest multistate food poisoning outbreak of 2014, sickened 12 people, six were hospitalized.

All of the illnesses were linked to restaurant meals. Wolverine recalled almost 2 million pounds of ground beef products,  but the 97-page list of recalled items did not include restaurant names.

Five of those sickened were from Michigan, four were from Ohio, one was from Missouri and one was from in Massachusetts.
Most of the Ohio cases were in the Toledo area. The Toledo-Lucas County Health Department said two of three case patients from that area ate at the same restaurant. At least one lawsuit was filed.

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