Two major food safety stories are making waves this week—and the common denominator is E. coli.
E. Coli In The News
Chipotle restaurants in the Pacific Northwest have been closed after an outbreak of E. coli has sickened 41 people. The restaurant chain voluntarily closed 43 restaurants across Oregon and Washington after the illnesses were traced back to Chipotle. Currently the chain does not know exactly which food item is contaminated. Food safety officials pinpointed the Shiga toxin-producing E. coli O26 microorganism as the culprit, and they are testing Chipotle’s food to find which item is at fault. It’s likely the bacteria will be traced to produce, including lettuce, tomatoes, cilantro or onions.
Ground Beef Outbreak
Omaha, Nebraska’s All American Meats Inc. is recalling 167,427 pounds of ground beef after E. coli was found. Food Safety and Inspection Services’ in-commerce surveillance program testing traced the bacteria to the producer. All products bear the establishment number “EST. 20420” inside the USDA mark of inspection. All products were produced on Oct. 16, 2015. For a complete list of recalled meat, see the USDA’s press release here. E. coli is a potentially deadly bacterium that causes abdominal cramps, bloody diarrhea and dehydration. E. coli infection symptoms usually occur two to eight days after exposure. In rare circumstances, exposure can cause kidney failure called hemolytic uremic syndrome.