Sunday, June 14, 2009

Would you like some E Coli with that?

We should be very grateful that our bodies generally have very good immune systems. A study of 1213 kebab take-away restaurants in UK found a disturbing number with significantly high levels of Escherichia coli (E coli) and Staphylococcus aureus organisms. Most people will be aware that E coli makes you sick and has been associated in the USA with massive food recalls over the last few years.

Staph Aureus is a rather nasty bacteria. It is the main culprit for boils and infections in the body. A low percentage of humans are unwittingly carriers of Staph Aureus (typically in nasal passage or other damp areas). These people have much higher probability of post operative infection, but that is another story.

The highlights of the study:
  • 5% had unacceptably high levels of E coli / Staph Aureus
  • 6% and 4.5% of cucumber sampled had unacceptable levels of E coli and Staph Aureus respectively
  • The worst sauce was chili with 8.7% samples contaminated
To be objective I don't know percentage of homes would be contaiminated in this way..... but it does make me realise that there are risks in eating out that I had never considered.

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