Award Winning Food Safety Expert Urges Cleaner Practices to Keep E.coli Bacteria at Bay

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Award winning food safety expert Mareya Ibrahim offers important tips to help prevent potentially life threatening bacteria after massive food borne bacterial outbreak kills 16 and sickens more than 1,100 in Europe

The food borne bacterial outbreak that has hit Germany and other European nations is one of the most devastating in history - 16 dead and more than 1,100 sick, including nearly 400 suffering severe and potentially fatal symptoms. The reason for infection is likely attributed to eating raw cucumbers, tomatoes or lettuce but exact causes have not been confirmed. Food safety expert Mareya Ibrahim is urging families to take the proper precautions to avoid the potentially disastrous effect of E.coli and other pathogens.

“The recent E.coli outbreak in Europe is said to be caused by the enterohemorrhagic E. coli strain O104:H4 found on fresh organic produce. E.coli is a bacteria which lives in the intestines of livestock and is also present in sheep, pigs and other animals and is transmitted orally via animal feces often found in organic fertilizers,” commented Mareya Ibrahim, food safety expert and founder, Grow Green Industries, Inc. “The fact is contamination can happen at any number of points, from the farm to the processor to the truck it was delivered on. An outbreak in the U.S. of this magnitude is only a matter of time from occurring .”

Food Safety Expert Mareya Ibrahim’s Top Clean Kitchen Tips:
Clean your hands. According to the Center for Disease Control, washing your hands thoroughly before you get cooking is one of the best ways to prevent contamination. Lathering with a good quality soap for 20 seconds or two times through the 'happy birthday' song is recommended. Continue to wash hands throughout the cooking and preparation process, especially after handling raw meat and then uncooked produce. Avoid produces with triclosan, which has been identified as an endocrine disruptor and a potential carcinogen. If soap and water is not readily available, an alcohol-free hand sanitizer or wipe is suggested.

Clean cutting boards and countertops. Contact surfaces like cutting boards and counter tops should be wiped down with antibacterial products. Opt for natural products free of harsh chemicals. Cleaning products made with Thymol claim to be up to 99.99% effective in killing harmful bacteria, including E.coli. Use a separate cutting board for fruit and veggies, one for raw meat, one for poultry and one for seafood to help prevent cross contamination.

Clean your food. According to Ibrahim, In many cases, food borne bacteria live on the surface of fruit and vegetables, yet washing with water alone may not be effective, especially if produce has been waxed. Opt for all natural food wash and wipes products that are lab tested to kill E.coli. The outbreak in Europe has been attributed to organic produce. According to Ibrahim, these foods are often grown with manure and compost which may introduce potentially harmful pathogens. It is important to wash these items thoroughly.

Chill out – Heat is a breeding ground for bacteria and now that temperatures are rising, chilling your food properly will help inhibit pathogen growth. Perishable food should never sit out for more than two hours. If the temperature is above 90°F, perishable foods shouldn’t sit out more than one hour. If you're planning a picnic or outdoor event, put foods on ice in a cooler immediately.

Lastly, Ibrahim says don’t panic. By practicing safe kitchen habits, consumers can greatly reduce their risk of infection. For more information or to contact Mareya Ibrahim: info(at)eatcleaner(dot)com or 888-284-2435 xt. 702.

About Mareya Ibrahim
Mareya Ibrahim is three-time award winning food safety expert and the founder of Grow Green Industries and The Cleaner Plate Club™, a platform for educating families on how to enjoy cleaner, safer, healthier food. Ibrahim is strongly committed to community outreach, especially as it relates to the health and well-being of children.

Mareya’s column, the “Fit Foody” appears in Edible Orange County Magazine and the Examiner and she is a regular food expert on San Diego Channel 6.

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