E.Coli Food poisoning: How to prevent it

A major E coli outbreak hit the Europeen countries these days. Many people got sick and unfortunately some of them were killed. As a mother of 2 little ones, I am always worried by these news and afraid that this outbreak reaches our home. I am worried that my family and friends get hit by this terrible food poisoning.

My first reaction was: shall I throw away all these veggies I just bought from the grocery? How can I prevent my family from getting food poisoning? What are the symptoms that should alert me and make me rush to the doctor? Did it hit my neighbourhood?

According to USA FDA and Canadian Food inspection Agency the outbreak has not affected US or Canada food supply. However as safety precautions, food coming from Europe will be sampled and testes. As a consumer, mother, sister and wife, these statements brought some relief but some questions remained unanswered.

What is E coli? How can we prevent E Coli food poisoning? What are the symptoms? Etc!!

I am not a specialist. I am just a mom looking for information and tools that help me cope with these situations. There are plenty of resources that helped me in the research such as Canadian Food Inspection Agency and MedicineNet.com

According to Canadian Food Inspection agency: E Coli is

Escherichia coli O157:H7 (called E. coli in this pamphlet) bacteria are found naturally in the intestines of cattle, poultry and other animals.


It spreads from person to person. Basically if a person has E Coli, she or he can contaminates other people by contact or sharing some items: cups, water bottles. You can get the E Coli by eating contaminated food such as ground beef, raw vegetables, untreated water. Cooking and boiling can destroy the bacteria according to Inspection Canada.


Symptoms of E Coli Food Poisoning:

The symptoms appear 3 to 5 days after ingesting the bacteria. They include

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Watery or bloody diarreah
  • Severe abdominal cramps with or without fever

For a complete list, you can check: MedicineNet.Com


How can we prevent E Coli food poisoning?


  • A proper hygiene such as hand washing, sanitizing your counters are great ways to prevent the E coli from spreading.
  • Keeping food in a cold temperature can stop the bacteria. It’s safe to freeze ground beef as it stops the bacteria from growing. It won’t kill the bacteria though. Only proper cooking can.
  • That’s why it is safer to thaw food in the fridge or microwave not on the counter. You will give the bacteria great chances to grow if you thaw food on the counters.
  • With the barbecue season starting, we love preparing hamburgers and marinate meat. It is safer to thaw the meat in the fridge and let it marinate in the fridge.
  • It is wise to use a food thermometer to check the safety food. For a complete list of internal cooking temperatures, check Canadian Food Inspection Agency

Our thoughts are with the E Coli victims and families. Hope these tips can help you and your family prevent E Coli food poisoning.

Disclaimer: This is not a medical advice.  If you think you have ingested E Coli, please contact your doctor as soon as possible.