(PresidentialDaily.org)- New studies suggest that E. coli in meat products may be responsible for half a million annual Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs) in the United States.
Between 480,000 and 640,000 UTIs are attributed to foodborne E. coli each year, according to research from the George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health. Lance Price and Cindy Liu conducted the research that was just published online in the journal One Health. The researchers claim that they discovered where E. coli came from by employing a novel genomic strategy.
The bacteria are present in people and animals, including livestock grown for consumption. The E. coli spreads during the butchering of these animals when meat products exposed to E. coli in the animal’s digestive tract are packed and sold. According to the study results, E. coli is present in most raw beef products sold in the United States.
Diarrhea-causing coli strains are monitored closely, but this new study reveals that other strains may potentially offer significant health hazards and should also be watched closely.
The study results show conclusively that harmful E. coli is causing humans to become sicker and worse from eating food contaminated with strains that originated in livestock.
The study found that the foodborne E. coli strains linked to UTIs also caused kidney and bloodstream infections, as hypothesized by the researchers.
It is still unknown what percentage of the 36,000–40,000 annual deaths in the United States attributable to bacterial bloodstream infections are caused by foodborne exposures.
The research results imply that manufacturers and the FDA may improve their surveillance of potentially harmful bacteria in food, especially raw meat sold in supermarkets nationwide. Consumers, however, are not helpless in the face of potentially tainted food. If you cook at home, wash your hands thoroughly after handling raw meat and keep raw and cooked meals on separate surfaces.