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Is your ground beef safe?

According to the Chicago Tribune on February 10, 2010 when government inspectors find ground beef contaminated with e-coli they do not launch an investigation to find its source.  What they do is try to prevent the contaminated meat from reaching the consumer.  We all know that they have not been 100% sucessful on that score.

What is e-coli and how does it effect you and your family?  E-coli is a bacteria that makes a person who has eaten contaminated meat or raw milk very sick.  It causes abdominal cramping, bloody diarrhea and in some instances death.  The illness is particularly severe in children and senior citizens.

How do you protect yourself and your family from e-coli?  There are simple steps you can take to prevent e-coli from making you sick.

  • Never eat your hamburger rare or medium rare.  Make sure there is no pink in your burger.
  • Always cook your ground beef to a temperature of 155 degrees.  Use a meat thermometer.
  • Never defrost your meat on the counter.  Defrost in your refridgerator or microwave.
  • Never use the same plate for raw meat and cooked meat.
  • Wash your hands frequently when preparing food.
  • Keep all meat refridgerated or frozen or use it right away.

What do you do if you get infected with e-coli?  If you notice symptoms of severe abdominal cramping, watery diarrhea followed by bloody diarrhea go to your doctor or local emergency room immediately.  Do not take any medications to stop the diarrhea because this is the way your body flushes the bacteria from your system.  Some cases of e-coli infection require hospitalization so this is not a matter to be taken lightly.

Remember, the best ways to prevent the spread of e-coli within your household is effective hand washing, proper handling of food and making sure meat is cooked thoroughly.




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