Shiga toxin-producing E. coli in food

May 09, 2018

Escherichia coli (E. coli) is a germ that occurs naturally in the gut of mammals and birds, as well as in the human intestinal flora. However, certain E. coli types can cause severe diarrhea in humans. These virulent E. coli types include Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC), also known as Verotoxin-producing E. coli (VTEC).

Their damaging effect is due to the fact that STEC produce toxins known as Shiga toxins (Stx), which can cause disease in the human gut. As the best known STEC representative, an enterohaemorrhagic E. coli (EHEC) strain of the serotype O104:H4 was responsible for numerous severe cases of haemolyticuremic syndrome (HUS) and bloody diarrhoea in Germany in 2011, as a result of which 53 people died.

According to evaluations made by the BfR, STEC are most often found in meat, meat products, raw milk and raw milk products from ruminants such as cattle, sheep and goats, but they can also occur in products made from wild ruminants and wild boar, as well as plantbased foods. In addition to the produced Shiga toxin, a protein for attaching the pathogens in the intestine (intimin) is regarded as an important factor in the development of severe diarrhoea.

Although STEC strains can be better classified today using modern molecular methods, a definite prediction of the potential of STEC strains to cause disease in humans is not possible. For this reason, all Shiga toxin-producing E. coli strains are classified as potentially virulent.

To protect against STEC infections through contaminated food, the BfR recommends heating methods, such as boiling, frying, roasting or pasteurising, which kill any pathogens that might be present in meat or raw milk. The requirement here is that a temperature of 70° C or more is reached at the core of the food for at least two minutes; accordingly, meat should be cooked thoroughly. Plant-based foods such as fresh herbs, lettuce and leafy greens, which are generally consumed raw should be stored at a maximum of 7° C, thoroughly washed and used quickly. To reduce the germ load, particularly sprouts should be thoroughly washed, used up as quickly as possible and preferably, thoroughly heated prior to consumption. People with weakened immune systems should avoid eating raw sprouts altogether.
-end-
The full version of this BfR opinion is available in German on http://www.bfr.bund.de/cm/343/shigatoxin-bildende-e-coli-in-lebensmitteln.pdf

More information on the subject of Escherichia coli at the BfR website http://www.bfr.bund.de/en/a-z_index/escherichia_coli-130085.html

BfR Federal Institute for Risk Assessment

Related Escherichia Coli Articles from Brightsurf:

E. coli bacteria offer path to improving photosynthesis
Cornell University scientists have engineered a key plant enzyme and introduced it in Escherichia coli bacteria in order to create an optimal experimental environment for studying how to speed up photosynthesis, a holy grail for improving crop yields.

Bad E. coli we know, but good E. coli?
Researchers at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine say E. coli Nissle may protect human cells against other more pathogenic strains of E. coli such as E. coli 0157:H7, which is commonly associated with contaminated hamburger meat.

Fighting E. coli with E. coli
According to findings published this week in mBio, Nissle, a strain of Escherichia coli, is harmless to intestinal tissue and may protect the gut from enterohemorrhagic E. coli, a pathogen that produces Shiga toxin.

New E. coli-infecting bacteriophage introduced in PHAGE
A new coliphage -- a bacteriophage that infects and can destroy Escherichia coli -- is presented and characterized in PHAGE: Therapy, Applications, and Research, a new peer-reviewed journal from Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers launching in early 2020.

Toxin promotes cattle-to-cattle transmission of deadly Escherichia coli strains
Shiga toxin subtype 2a (Stx2a) may play a key role in promoting the colonization and transmission of life-threatening Escherichia coli strains in cattle, according to a study published Oct.

Revealed: How E. coli knows how to cause the worst possible infection
The discovery could one day let doctors prevent the infection by allowing E. coli to pass harmlessly through the body.

Take two E. coli and call me in the morning
What if the bacteria in your daily probiotic were also able to detect diseases in the gut and indicate when something is awry?

Cocktail of common antibiotics can fight resistant E. coli
Scientists from the Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Biosustainability have discovered that a combination of two common antibiotics is able to eliminate multi-drug resistant E. coli causing urinary tract infections.

Detecting E. coli strains using molecular electronics
Electrical engineers at UC Davis, the University of Washington and TOBB University of Economics and Technology in Ankara, Turkey have adapted a molecular electronic device called a single-molecule break junction to detect RNA from strains of E. coli known for causing illness.

Antimicrobial resistance of uropathogenic Escherichia coli from elderly patients
Urinary tract infection (UTI) is a common cause of morbidity and mortality in older adults.

Read More: Escherichia Coli News and Escherichia Coli Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.