Shock treatment knocks out E. coli bug

January 12th, 2012 - 3:27 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, Jan 12 (IANS) Shock treatment can knock out E. coli bugs growing on the surface of heavily contaminated meat, reveals a study.

The technique offers a cheap and easy way to cut down food poisoning risk which can occur despite compliance with hygiene standards.

Researcher Ajit Mahapatra and colleagues at Fort Valley State University, in Georgia, and Virginia Tech have demonstrated that applying a low-voltage shock to beef samples swarming with lethal E. coli O157:H7 can almost completely deactivate the bug.

The team points out that the level of contamination used in their tests far exceeded in what was seen in commercial carcasses after slaughter, the International Journal of Food Safety, Nutrition and Public Health reported.

Food poisoning is a serious public-health issue, especially with the emergence of lethal and highly virulent strains of Escherichia coli (E. coli O157:H7, for example), according to a university statement.

The symptoms are diarrhoea, dehydration and kidney malfunctioning that can lead to serious long-term problems that can be fatal in children, the elderly and the people with pre-existing ailments or health issues.

Thousands of people are affected by E. coli infection each year through eating contaminated beef, meat and other food products.

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