Escherichia coli (E.coli)

Escherichia coli bacteria, SEM. © Science Photo Library

Escherichia coli (E.coli) are very common bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract, and part of the normal bacterial flora. However, some E.coli strains are able to produce a toxin that could produce serious infection. The main reservoir of such E.coli strains is grass-feeding animals, cattle in particular. Their meat might become contaminated by faecal matter due to poor processing methods during slaughter, and their faeces might end up contaminating other foods (e.g. milk, vegetables) and water.

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