What foods could/are likely to contain E. coli contamination?
The most likely source of this disease-causing E. coli strain is contaminated ground beef. However, outbreaks have been linked to many other food items and beverages. Unpasteurized milk and juices are high risk. In recent years there have been many outbreaks linked to produce items such as lettuce and now spinach. What do you make of the E. coli cases caused by the eating of the contaminated bagged spinach grown in California? How could spinach have been contaminated? This is the first outbreak due to contaminated spinach, but contaminated lettuce and sprouts have been reported before. The contamination can come from irrigation with contaminated water, run-off from nearby cattle farms, fertilization with contaminated cattle manure, or can occur after harvest. Is it safe to eat frozen or canned spinach? Yes. Will cooking raw spinach kill E. coli? It will, but there is danger in handling the raw spinach prior to cooking. For example, the disease-causing E. coli can get on your hands, you