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What Are the Most Common Causes of E. Coli Food Poisoning?

Posted on in Ecoli

Chicago E. coli injury attorneyUnfortunately, food poisoning is all too common in the United States. Foods can become contaminated by bacteria, viruses, or other toxins at different points in the supply chain, including when they are grown or produced, shipped, or served or sold to customers. E. coli is one of the most common pathogens that leads to food poisoning injuries, and it can have a significant impact on a person’s health. Those who have contracted E. coli will want to understand the potential sources of the infection and determine whether they can pursue compensation from the person or company that was responsible.

Sources of E. Coli Infections

Escherichia coli, which is commonly abbreviated as E. coli, is a bacteria that is found in the intestines of many humans and animals. E. coli infections can occur through:

  • Ground meat - When cows, pigs, or other animals are slaughtered, E. coli bacteria in their intestines may become mixed in with the meat. Packages of ground beef, pork, or other meats will often contain meat from multiple animals, making them more likely to be contaminated. Meat should be fully cooked to kill any bacteria that are present. Infections can occur if meat is undercooked or if bacteria from meat spreads to other food products during storage or preparation.

  • Dairy products and beverages - Milk may become contaminated by E. coli bacteria from a cow’s udders or on the equipment used to milk cattle. Drinking unpasteurized milk or eating dairy products such as cheese, butter, or yogurt that was made from raw milk may result in an E. coli infection. Fruit juices should also be pasteurized to kill bacteria, and infections can spread through raw, unpasteurized juices.

  • Fruits and vegetables - Animal waste will often contain E. coli, and runoff from farms where livestock is raised may contaminate produce that is grown nearby. Water sources may also become contaminated and spread E. coli when crops are irrigated. Fruits and vegetables should be washed before they are eaten to eliminate the likelihood of E. coli infections.

  • People - Agricultural workers who come in contact with animals may have E. coli on their hands or clothing, and they may spread the contamination when handling food products or coming in contact with other people. E. coli infections can also be spread by food service workers, grocery store employees, or others who do not properly wash their hands before preparing, serving, or handling food.

Contact Our Illinois E. Coli Food Poisoning Attorneys

An E. coli infection can lead to a variety of symptoms that affect your overall health, and it may even lead to long-term or permanent injuries such as kidney failure. At Newland & Newland, LLP, we can help you identify the source of an E. coli infection, and we will work with you to take legal action against the person or organization that caused you to become ill. Contact our Chicago food poisoning lawyers today at 312-981-0409 to set up a free consultation.


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