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The outbreak of a new and virulent strain of E coli in Germany serves to remind us the importance of food safety, especially with regard to preparing meals for preschool children. Usually when we think of food poisoning, we think of under-cooked meat or eggs - we don't consider that salad can kill.
The source of the E. coli outbreak has still not been traced. Suspicion initially fell on cucumbers supplied to the German market from Spain, but increasingly this is looking unlikely. Currently in Germany, advice is to avoid eating cucumber, lettuce and tomatoes.
How could foods as innocuous as cucumbers and tomatoes pick up deadly strains of E. coli in the first place? Researchers are focusing on the possibility that the deadly bacteria comes from manure used in growing organic crops.
The Health Protection Agency (HPA) in the UK gives the following advice:-
- Wash all fruit and vegetables before cooking and/or eating
- Peel or cook fruit or vegetables
- Wash your hands regularly during food preparation to prevent the spread of E. coli bacteria
Be safe and make sure that you prepare food with care, whether you are preparing meat, fruit, vegetables or even salad!