Tags: chipotle | outbreak | coli | food | poisoning

Chipotle Outbreak Spotlights Growing Food-Poisoning Risk

Chipotle Outbreak Spotlights Growing Food-Poisoning Risk
(Copyright AP)

By    |   Sunday, 01 November 2015 01:01 PM

More than 40 Chipotle Mexican Grill restaurants in two Northwestern states remain closed as government officials continue to investigate an outbreak of food poisoning liked to the popular chain.

The 43 restaurants in Seattle and Portland, Ore., were temporarily closed this weekend after more than 20 people became sick after eating at the restaurants over the past two weeks.

One-third of those affected have been hospitalized and there have been no deaths, Oregon Health officials said on their website.

The illness is believed to be caused by E. coli, with symptoms including vomiting and bloody diarrhea.

The outbreak spotlights the growing risk posed by E.coli, which resulted in more food poisoning outbreaks during 2003-2012 than during the previous two decades, according to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report this past August.

The report identified 390 outbreaks linked to E.coli, including 4,928 illnesses, 1,272 hospitalizations, and 33 deaths.

The majority of the cases (65 percent) were attributed to contaminated food, with contaminated beef and leafy vegetables combined comprising 25 percent of all reported E. coli outbreaks and more than 40 percent of related illnesses.

People infected with E.coli generally develop diarrhea and abdominal cramps within one to 10 days.

Most people recover within a week but it can cause a severe type of kidney failure in children under the age of 5 and the elderly. E.coli can result in urinary tract infections, respiratory illness, bloodstream infections, and other illnesses.

According to the CDC, proper hygiene is the key to preventing E.coli outbreaks. Officials recommend these steps:

•    Practice proper hygiene, especially good hand washing
•    Wash your hands thoroughly after using the bathroom, changing diapers, and before preparing or eating food.
•    Wash your hands after contact with animals or their environments (at farms, petting zoos, fairs, even your own backyard).
•    Always wash your hands before preparing and feeding bottles or foods to an infant, before touching an infant's mouth, and before touching pacifiers or other things that go into an infant's mouth.
•    If soap and water aren't available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. These alcohol-based products can quickly reduce the number of germs on hands in some situations, but they are not a substitute for washing with soap and running water.
•    Cook meats thoroughly. Ground beef and meat that has been needle-tenderized should be cooked to a temperature of at least 160 degrees Fahrenheit. Use a thermometer to verify the temperature, as color is not a very reliable indicator of how thoroughly meat has been cooked.
•    Prevent cross-contamination in food preparation areas by thoroughly washing hands, counters, cutting boards, and utensils after they touch raw meat.
•    Avoid consuming raw milk, unpasteurized dairy products, and unpasteurized juices (like fresh apple cider).
•    Avoid swallowing water when swimming and when playing in lakes, ponds, streams, swimming pools, and backyard "kiddie" pools.

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Diet-And-Fitness
More than 40 Chipotle restaurants in two Northwestern states remain closed as government officials investigate an outbreak of food poisoning liked to the popular chain. The outbreak spotlights the growing risk posed by E.coli, but there are steps you can take to protect yourself.
chipotle, outbreak, coli, food, poisoning
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2015-01-01
Sunday, 01 November 2015 01:01 PM
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