Forest Ranch Fundraiser Serves Contaminated Food




Forest Ranch Fundraiser Serves Contaminated Food

A fundraiser at Forest Ranch in California has caused more than 25 people to become ill after serving them beef infected with E. coli, specifically the strain known as E. coli O175:H7. Of those who became sickened, four were so seriously affected that they required hospitalization. 

The Forest Ranch fundraiser was held to benefit volunteer firemen. Between 300 and 400 people attended this event. Authorities expect more victims of E. coli infections to come forward in the coming days as a result of the contaminated meat served at the event. 

The Dangers of E. coli O175:H7 

The strain of E. coli known as "E. coli O175:H7" is particularly harmful and contagious. In fact, in some instances, it can cause fatal blood infections, cystitis (bladder inflammation) and even wrongful death. The primary way in which people become infected with E. coli O175:H7 is by eating foods handled by a person who hasn't washed his hands properly, if at all, or by handling other raw, infected meats. 

People can also contract an E. coli infection by drinking contaminated water. 

Tracking Down the Tainted Beef

Following reports of E. coli hospitalizations, health officials pinpointed the fundraiser as the event in question and started sampling various foods served at the event. Upon cross-examining samples of the frozen tri-tip and patients' fecal matter, health officials uncovered the source of the E. coli outbreak. 

It's important to note that this technique of testing fecal matter against food samples proved successful because infected patients expel parts of the E. coli bacteria in their excrement. Such infected excrement – whether from a human or an animal – is itself contagious, as it can cause anyone who comes into contact with it and doesn't wash his hands to contract E. coli. 

Preventing E. coli Infections

While E. coli infections are painful, debilitating and, at times, life threatening, the good news is that they are fairly easy to prevent. To avoid becoming infected by E. coli: 

  • At home, keep all raw beef in a distinct and separate area from all other foods. Properly wash your hands and any objects in contact with the raw beef before touching your mouth or other foods. 
  • Drink treated water and pasteurized milk/juices. 
  • In a restaurant, be sure to check out beef and see if it is cooked before eating it. Send it back if it's unacceptable. 
  • Thoroughly cook all raw beef products before eating them. This means cooking beef until it has achieved an internal temperature of at least 160° F. 
  • Wash your hands (and make sure children wash theirs) after going to the restroom. 

(Source: NEWSInferno.com)

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