E. coli Infection | Prevention

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How can I keep from getting E. coli infection?

You can help prevent this infection by handling and cooking meat in a safe way. For your protection, follow these rules:

  • Wash your hands carefully with soap before you start cooking.
  • Cook ground beef until you see no pink anywhere.
  • Don't taste small bites of raw ground beef while you're cooking.
  • Don't put cooked hamburgers on a plate that had raw ground beef on it before.
  • Cook all hamburgers to at least 155°F. A meat thermometer can help you test your hamburgers.
  • Defrost meats in the refrigerator or the microwave. Don't let meat sit on the counter to defrost.
  • Keep raw meat and poultry separate from other foods. Use hot water and soap to wash cutting boards and dishes if raw meat and poultry have touched them.
  • Don't drink raw milk.
  • Keep food refrigerated or frozen.
  • Keep hot food hot and cold food cold.
  • Wash all fruits and vegetables, especially if eaten raw.
  • Refrigerate leftovers right away or throw them away.
  • People with diarrhea should wash their hands carefully and often, using hot water and soap, and washing for at least 30 seconds. People who work in day care centers and homes for the elderly should wash their hands often, too.

In restaurants, always order hamburgers that are cooked well done so that no pink shows.

Written by familydoctor.org editorial staff

Reviewed/Updated: 02/11
Created: 05/99

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