Escherichia Coli (E. coli)
- More illnesses from fecally contaminated fruit and vegetables than meat
- In 2006, across 26 states fresh spinach caused 102 hospitalizations, 31 kidney failures, 3 deaths, and many more suffered at home
- Unusually low infectious dose, less than 100 bacteria
- #3 cause of pathogen-based US recalls
- EPIC iO AIR kill rate: between 99.74% and 99.99%
E. coli is found everywhere from the dirt on your boot, to the intestines of humans and animals. Our bodies depend on them, but a few strains, Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli or STECs are harmful.
People become infected any time they eat a product contaminated with even just 100 STEC bacteria, which is surprisingly low. These bacteria live happily in the intestines of farm animals and during the slaughtering process may cross-contaminate the carcass when done incorrectly.
Fortunately, the heat from cooking kills E. coli. So while raw meat has a bad reputation, you’re more likely to find STECs elsewhere. Look for it on raw fruits and vegetables, especially leafy greens, and salads. The worst outbreak killed 53 people in 2011, from, of all things, fenugreek sprouts. In 2021 it was a cake mix that was to blame.
Discovered in 1885 from healthy individuals, it’s made a huge impact on the food industry. In 1993 Jack in the Box undercooked ground beef patties, caused over 700 illnesses and 3 child deaths; and those who survived with life altering complications from organ transplants to detrimental brain damage.
According to a paper published in the Lancet, funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation, it is the second leading cause of diarrheal disease globally, affecting all age groups, and the #3 pathogenic cause of food recalls in the U.S.
EPIC iO AURA and E. coli
E. coli is highly susceptible to gaseous ozone-based disinfection. A standard overnight cycle from an EPIC iO AURA will kill between 99.74% and 99.99% of bacteria from surfaces.