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How does E. coli get into meat?

Yesterday we blogged about how to kill E. Coli and other bacteria when cooking meat. Arloue on Facebook asked us, “How does E. coli get into the meat?" That’s a good question.

E. coli is a type of bacteria that lives in your intestines. Most strains of E. coli are harmless, but certain types can make you sick. E. coli also lives in the intestines of animals, especially cows, and can contaminate muscle meat during slaughter.

But E. coli isn’t limited to meat. Vegetables that are grown with infected manure or washed with infected water can make you sick. You can also get the infection by swallowing water from a swimming pool that is contaminated with human waste.

To prevent E. coli infections, cook meat well, wash fruits and vegetables before eating or cooking them, and avoid unpasteurized milk and juices. Make sure to wash your hands, counters, cutting boards, and utensils after they touch raw meat in order to prevent cross-contamination.

Find more information about E. coli infections on MedlinePlus.