Escherichia Coli (E. COLI) is in the news again.
E. Coli is the most common bacterium found around humans. E. Coli resides in the intestines of humans and animals and comes out when the human or animal defecates.
It is so common that hygienists for water departments and food control count the number of E. Coli found in water or in food to see whether the contamination is too great for human consumption. In other words, we are eating and drinking this bacteria daily.
E. Coli comes in many strains. Most are not dangerous, but, as we are seeing in Germany, some are deadly. The German cucumber strain causes a hemorrhagic disease, where blood cells break down and the patient bleeds internally. This has happened many times in the last few decades.
However, if you study the history of this bacteria, outbreaks of the deadly strains did not occur frequently prior to the advent of the Common Market. Such outbreaks did not occur in the U.S. over fifty years ago.
Western countries were farming countries in the last century. The people on the small farms were healthy, and, most importantly, hygienic. They did not defecate around their crops. They did not let animals defecate around their crops.
Then the Western nations became rich and the workers would not work on the farms. The pay was insufficient for the labor involved. The farms went to Africa and South America.
If you go to a market in the West today, you will notice that most vegetables are imported. In many of the new farming countries, hygiene is completely lacking.
As a consequence, veggies lying on the ground, such as cucumbers, can easily be contaminated. Either by humans or animals.
WHAT TO DO?
In China, raw vegetables are not eaten. Over thousands of years the Chinese have learned about the dangers of eating raw veggies.
Cooking destroys most bacteria. You will find “Stir Frying” is the way in which Chinese restaurants present their veggies.
In Europe and the U.S. raw salads are very common. For these salads super washing, often with a bactericidal compound that is edible, is the safest method.
Peeling is de-rigor.
Unfortunately, if you eat raw foods, you run a risk of getting a bad E. Coli. Governmental supervision of raw veggies is the only protection left–except growing it yourself.