How to Prevent Food Poisoning from E. coli Bacteria
How Can I Protect Myself from E.coli?
At The Store
When shopping for bagged greens or precut produce, buy only those kept on ice or refrigerated and stored separately from meat, says Douglas Powell, PhD, scientific director of the Food Safety Network at Kansas State University.
Also, consider avoiding raw sprouts, which the FDA categorizes as high risk because their growing conditions encourage food bacteria to flourish. Though healthy adults can often fight off the germs, those who are susceptible--children, pregnant women, and the elderly--shouldn't take the chance.
In The Fridge
Store fruits and vegetables above any uncooked meat so that raw juices don't drip down and contaminate produce.
At The Sink
Scrub your hands for 10 to 15 seconds under hot, soapy water before you touch any food. Always wash produce before you use it--even if you plan on peeling it. Be sure to rinse lettuce leaves and scrub root vegetables such as carrots and beets with a veggie brush to reduce pathogens.
As You Prep
Use separate cutting boards for produce, raw meat, poultry, and fish to help avoid cross contamination.
On The Stove
Although cooking produce to an internal temperature of 160°F for 15 seconds doesn't guarantee you'll stay healthy, it can help protect you from some E. coli and Salmonella strains, notes the FDA.
Video: Mayo Clinic Minute: E. coli Fast Facts
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