How a Foodie Ends up with E. coli

Wash ALL Produce

Harmless enough, and healthy, right?

I know you guys count on recipes when I post here, but I wanted to share an experience with you that might help save some of you from future sickness. I do not want to create  panic as this does not apply to all people, but only to those that have weakened immune systems such as former or current cancer patients (it’s been ten years since my radiation therapy and my system is still weak), young children/babies and seniors that are in poor health.

As a foodie, I always rinse any produce that I don’t peel or cook but I did not know that the virulent strain of E.coli known as O157:H7 requires a mild detergent wash, then rinse in order to be safer for people with immune system issues. (This strain is not overly common in our everyday produce, but it does occur. My case was caused by imported green grapes.)

Most people might get mild stomach discomfort from eating food infected with various strains of E.coli. Sometimes so minor they pass it over as just a slight “bug” and forget about it. For those with weakened immunity, the bacteria will affect us much more rigorously and may not just go away on its own. I struggled with symptoms for nearly three weeks before finally seeing my doctor, thinking I was just run down or stressed. By the time I went to the doctor I could not keep any food or liquids down or in me and it was a violent case. Now that I am taking a powerful probiotic and eating very small amounts of bland food (Cream of Wheat has been my saving grace!), I am starting to gain some strength back.

I hope you all take care to clean your produce carefully, and if you or anyone you know has a weakened immune system, please pass this information on, and advise them to use a mild detergent to actually wash their produce before consuming it. You may save yourself or someone you love a LOT of grief!

About Tami McVey

I've always been very passionate about writing and cooking so I thought I would combine the two, and help others learn to cook budget-friendly, health-conscious meals. I've been writing a monthly column for a newspaper for just over two years now, and it's recently been increased to a bi-monthly column due to interest! I just graduated from a second Business Administration program with a focus on marketing, and for the past three years I've been working on developing my writing career... turning my dreams into goals. Thank you for stopping by!
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7 Responses to How a Foodie Ends up with E. coli

  1. Raani York says:

    This, dear Tami, is an excellent post and very important to some of us! (not in particular to me, since I normally have the stomach of a shark) – but I know very well what you mean! And I will keep this in mind. Definitely!!
    Well done and thanks for sharing!

    • Tami McVey says:

      Thank you, Raani. I was of the camp of “this wouldn’t happen to me”, until it did… I pride myself on iron guts.. my immune system though, not so much apparently!! LOL

  2. Sherman P Bastarache says:

    Wow, mostly I don’t even rinse my grapes because I am in too big a hurry to eat them. I may or may not wash them in the future, but at least I will know why I am sick.

  3. Jim Sellers says:

    Hope you’re feeling better. Next time remember to heat the grapes to at least (F) 150 degrees before eating them, or buy them as wine.

  4. patgarcia says:

    Hello My Dear,
    Thank you for this information. It is very important to know. I have a habit of pinching one or two grapes in the produce section when I go grocery shopping. I hope you are okay and that you have got your strength back.

    Take care of yourself, my dear.


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