måndag 6 juni 2011

E coli epidemic - rushing to conclusions

On further investigation, bean sprouts rather than Spanish cucumbers now turn out to be the likely cause of the toxic E coli epidemic. All of which shows that commentators are too quick to rush to conclusions.

However, I am still not entirely convinced that this is the whole story. From my own experience of bacteriology, I would suggest that to get them growing nicely, E coli need more nutrients than are to be found on the outside of a sprouting bean, where the bugs would just sit quietly waiting for their food. I suspect that something like mayonnaise dressing is involved too, and the concoction would need to be in a warmish place for a few hours for the numbers of bacteria to build up.

All of which sounds as if there could also be broader issues of hygiene in the places where food is being prepared, going beyond this particular epidemic.

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