Ground Beef and Walnuts Recalled after E. Coli Contamination Detected; CDC issued Advisory

Ground Beef and Walnuts Recalled after E. Coli Contamination Detected; CDC issued Advisory

Ground beef and organic walnuts were recalled by the federal government last week because they might have been tainted with E. coli bacteria, which can make people sick.

More than 16,000 pounds of ground beef sold at Wal-Mart stores in 11 states was recalled by Cargill Meat Solutions. Organic shelled walnuts sold in bulk at natural food and co-op shops in 19 states were also recalled. So far, the recalled walnuts have been linked to 12 illnesses in Washington state and California, with seven people being hospitalized.

People haven’t gotten sick from the ground beef recall yet, but ground beef is still one of the most common places where these germs cause illness—about 265,000 illnesses a year. The CDC doesn’t identify or keep track of most of these, though, because Matthew Wise, head of the CDC’s Outbreak Response and Prevention Branch, said that people usually get better on their own without going to the doctor.

Microbiologist Edward Dudley, who runs the E. Coli Reference Center at Pennsylvania State University, said that there are many types of E. coli and that most of them are safe for people.

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He did say that some types do make people sick. Shiga toxin-producing E. coli are the ones that usually make people sick. They live in cow guts, which is why they often get into ground beef. An E. coli type that makes Shiga toxin is likely to be responsible for the continued recalls of walnuts and ground beef.

Wise said that being careful when making food is the best way to avoid getting E. coli. Keep chicken and raw meat away from other foods, and wash your hands well after touching them. He said that you should cook meat and other foods to the right temperature to get rid of any bacteria that might be hiding inside and that you should put leftovers in the fridge within two hours to stop the growth of bacteria.

Even if you’re not handling food, you should wash your hands often because E. coli can spread through dirty hands or surfaces.

Wise said it’s also important to keep an eye on food recalls and throw away any recalled goods because E. coli can sometimes get into raw foods like nuts and fruits.

The CDC also says that people should wash their fruits and veggies under running water, only drink pasteurized milk and fruit juices, and not eat raw dough or batter. If you’re swimming in untreated water, like lakes or rivers, you should also avoid drinking water.

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