Thursday, March 25, 2010

Surprise, surprise, for those of you that thought you were safe from the bacteria E. coli by sticking to the vegetarian lifestyle. In my experience, and with all of my years in restaurants, people were more prone to getting serious illnesses from vegetables like lettuce, than they were from undercooked chicken. I personally have gotten food poisoning from two separate restaurants that served dirty lettuce. They will remain nameless, of course.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in June and July 1997 60 people got food poisoning from eating alfalfa sprouts contaminated with E. coli, and there have been about a half-dozen outbreaks of salmonella infection caused by alfalfa sprouts since 1995. Unwashed, raw fruits and vegetables can be just as toxic as unprepared, uncooked meat.
Not convinced yet? Discovery has recently published articles about the safety issues of meat and vegetables. In fact, they go on to further explain that vegans and vegetarians believe that by eating vegetables they are safe from food born pathogens. You're wrong!

Read more about the E.coli on Discovery News and how it's affecting the way we think about vegetables.


thestickman said...

I picked up a raging case of Montezuma's Revenge in Mexico on the last day of our Honeymoon. The several hour flight back to Toronto was ...worrisome, and the real trouble hit me about 10-mins. after disembarking from the plane.
While there at the exclusive all-included resort, I had been eating mostly cooked meats and 'hot dishes' but that last meal, I had a huge salad that had lots of raw veggies on it. Tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots, cheeses and other. -Giardia lamblia is a real bastard to have. It took me about 3 weeks to get over it, even with medicines.
AS for E. Coli, this is associated with the fecals of animals but it is not limited TO animal products (vis the spraying of fecal-laden water onto commercial crops, feral animals running around in commercial fields such as deer, wild pigs, etc etc.) by no means. This was a major incident here in Ontario a few years ago when some apple growers harvested apples for commercial-available cider and were picking apple off the GROUND (instead of the mandated tree-harvested) and the apples has salmonella from (poss.) deer poop & pee, which went straight into the unpasteurized cider product and many people got very sick from it...)

E. Coli is a common worry for dairy foods industry too, as often the milk truck drivers that deliver the milk to the manufacturing plant will spend time in the communal break room while their truck is being services (drained & washed) even despite the required 'boot-washing' with spray iodine that is required before entering the sanitary side of the plant. These truck drivers walk around inside the cowbarn where the milking takes place, stepping in that nice squishy coli & salmonella-laden cow dung... GREAT potential for cross-contamination.

Until you've spent 20+ days in pain, spewing hot watery blood-speckled poo you will never truly appreciate the dangers of bad food handling and ineffective sterilization/under-cooking of foods..

Chris Stonecipher said...

I can't fathom have horrible your experience was being sick from contaminated food. I can't held thinking about that when I have been invited to go to a buffet restaurant meal.

Anonymous said...

I have also had food poisoning twice, from chain restaurants.
You cannot wash you vegetables and fruits enough.
It is good to remember that ALL fruits and vegetables need to be washed - that includes cantaloupes, watermelons, eggplants, bananas, etc.
If you don't wash them all - when you cut them the knife can carry e.coli and other bacteria into the produce.

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