Tracing E. coli’s path

These diagrams show how E. coil, a potentially deadly bacteria, gets into the food supply. Study the diagrams carefully. Then answer the questions below.

E. coli: From farm to fork

E. col/0157:H7 bacteria are first found on the farm, where they can thrive among cattle. Mistakes in the packing plant or the kitchen usually allow them to reach their human victims.

On the farm

(1) Lives in cattle: E. coil a common, normally harmless species of bacteria, lives in all cattle stomachs; most herds–and up to 10 percent of all cattle–carry the harmful 0157:H7 strain

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(2) Spread in feedlots: E. coli. shed in cattle manure, can easily spread in feedlots where many cattle are confined for months being fattened before slaughter

(3) Rainwater runoff problems: Contaminated manure is washed into streams and lakes on the farm and beyond; bacteria can survive 40 days in 68[degrees] F (20[degrees] C) water

Scientists suspect most E. coil contamination of non-beef foods can be traced to runoff or compost fertilizer containing animal manure.

In the plant

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Some cattle carry the bacteria on their hides and in their stomachs when they go to slaughter; how E. coli gets on meat:

(1) Skinning carcasses: E. coil on the hide can transfer to the raw meat

(2) Gutting mistakes: Can lead to cuts in the digestive track, allowing bacteria to spill onto carcass

Bacteria is invisible to meat inspectors; many plants use antibacterial rinses and vacuums to clean carcasses i

(3) Sloppy cutting: E. coil can survive on meat surface after final beef cuts are made from carcasses

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(4) Mixing ground beef: Meat scraps processed into ground beef come from many sources, so one bad carcass can contaminate up to 8 tons of beef

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Grinding also spreads bacteria throughout mixture so cooking heat won’t kill it unless meat is cooked through; whole cuts like steaks need only be fully cooked on the outside

1. Where does E. coil originate?

A. cow manure

B. cow stomachs

C. contaminated rainwater

2. Which is not a way scientists believe E. coil gets into the non-beef food supply?

A. from cows eating contaminated plants

B. from manure being washed into streams

C. from fertilizer that contains animal manure

3. How much ground beef can one bad carcass contaminate during processing?

A. only the meat from that one carcass

B. up to 20 pounds

C. up to 8 tons

4. Which of these has the greatest chance of containing E. coli?

A. uncooked ground beef

B. medium rare steak

C. a fully cooked hamburger

ANSWER KEY

1. B, 2. A, 3. C, 4. A

COPYRIGHT 2008 Weekly Reader Corp.

COPYRIGHT 2008 Gale, Cengage Learning

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