I was 99% sure that E. coli was bad. And that it meant bad news. But I couldn’t recall why. I couldn’t associate it with any illness. But it somehow brought Taco Bell to mind. Oh, right, there were people who fell ill after eating in Taco Bell. Three known deaths, so far. The latest news is that green onion is the culprit. And the presence of E. coli in an unopened package means that the green onions were already contaminated before they were delivered to Taco Bell.
Of course, I went through the trouble of finding out where E. coli thrives and what it really means when the E. coli bacteria are present in human food. According to what I’ve read so far, E. coli bacteria are associated with feces. They live in the lower intestines of mammals and are usually harmless unless they enter parts of the body where they shouldn’t be — including the digestive tract which was what happened with the Taco Bell victims.
But how could the E. coli bacteria have gotten into the green onions? Water in the irrigation system perhaps?
In the field of water purification and sewage treatment, E. coli was chosen very early in the development of the technology as an “indicator” of the pollution level of water, meaning the amount of human fecal matter in it, measured using the Coliform Index… [Wikipedia]
Or, perhaps, unsanitary handling during the packaging process?
Whatever the cause, that should make anyone think long and hard about how healthy and nutritious fresh raw vegetables really are. Cooking, or even boiling, kills E. coli bacteria.