Staying food safe to avoid E. coli

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Lisa Goudy
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Owner Adam Fellinger wraps up some raw beef that he has in stock at Fellinger and Sons Meats on Wednesday.

Fellinger and Sons Meats is having trouble getting beef orders thanks to the recent beef recall from XL Foods and the E. coli outbreak.

“I try to stay local. I don’t use that product so I don’t have any problem with the beef recall,” said owner Adam Fellinger. “I don’t do any business with XL at all. My company that I deal with is Cargill, but I’m having problems with them filling orders because everybody’s jumping over to them and ... we’re having trouble getting product in.”

He said he tries to buy products from locals who buy from big packinghouses. The purpose is to keep his burgers and beef products fresh, but he has no availability.

“But I can’t get product in here fast enough for my sales,” said Fellinger. “It’s just coming in trickles right now.”

Five Hills Health Region (FHHR) medical officer Dr. Mark Vooght said there was one case of E. coli in the region in August from the same strain as the 13 reported cases in the province. The one case was before the mass beef recall was issued. Since the case in August, there have been no cases of the infection in the region yet.

“We’re on the lookout for cases. A letter was sent out this week to all healthcare practitioners … and other staff in the health region to alert them to the fact they should be contacting public health if people have symptoms of this disease,” said Vooght. “Most common is bloody diarrhea and, as we know, as we get diarrhea we get abdominal cramps. It’s the body trying to get rid of what it sees as an infection basically.”

He added the diarrhea can get quite severe or watery, both of which are symptoms.

Vooght said the symptoms tend to appear three to four days after the contaminated piece of food was eaten, but they can take up to 10 days to appear. Anyone can get infected with the disease, but young children, the elderly, pregnant women and those with ill health are more likely to develop serious complications from the disease.

FHHR health inspector Wayne Johnson said there are three main messages for people to keep in mind in food handling practices to prevent getting E. coli. Those are hand washing, temperature control and cross contamination of the food environment.

For more information, see an upcoming edition of the Times-Herald.

Organizations: XL Foods, Cargill, Times-Herald

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