SFA Withdraws French Raw Milk Cheese Due To Presence of E.Coli

Sarmistha Neogy
·6-min read

Graindorge Petit Camembert Au Lait Cru, a raw milk cheese from France has been recalled to control an E.coli outbreak in Singapore. The affected product will be taken off the shelves, the Singapore Food Agency (SFA) said on Wednesday. The contaminated product is in 150g boxes and they expire on March 28.

Raw Milk Cheese Recalled Due To Presence Of E.coli

E.coli outbreak
E.coli outbreak

Graindorge Petit Camembert Au Lait Cru withdrawn from the market after the presence of harmful bacteria (Photo Courtesy: SFA)

The European Commission Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed issued a notification for the recall after the discovery of Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) in the product.

The cheese was brought into Singapore by Indoguna, a food and beverage company located in Senoko. All the affected products have been recalled and are no longer available for sale.

SFA noted, food contaminated with STEC may not look or smell spoilt, but it can cause serious infections. Some of the symptoms of STEC infection may include diarrhoea, stomach cramps, and vomiting. “Consumers who feel unwell after consuming the implicated product may wish to seek medical attention,” said SFA.

The agency alerted that as a precaution, vulnerable groups of people, especially young children, pregnant women, elderly persons, or people with chronic illness such as diabetes, should avoid eating raw food.

What Is E.coli And How To Spot Its Symptoms

It is a type of bacteria that normally lives in your intestines and is also found in the gut of some animals. In most cases, e-coli infection is harmless, but some strains can cause diarrhoea, especially if you eat contaminated food or drink foul water.

There are some versions of E-coli that can make you seriously unwell because of the presence of the toxin called Shiga. This toxin damages the lining of your intestine and the strain is referred to as STEC or the “Shiga toxin-producing E. coli.”

Typically, such type of strains exist on various fruits and vegetables, which is why you need to be extra cautious while making a purchase at the local vendor. For the uninitiated, here are a few products that can cause E.coli.

How can you get infected?

E.coli outbreak
E.coli outbreak

You can get infected from E.coli from having fresh vegetables and fruits (Photo courtesy: Pixabay)

Fresh vegetables

You may get fresh vegetables and fruits from the market thinking that they are healthy. But, you might be eating veggies that have been tainted by water that has the E. coli bacteria. This can happen quite frequently after the manure from nearby animals mixes with the water supply.

Untreated milk

If you drink unpasteurised milk, which hasn’t been heated to kill bacteria, there can be chances of contracting E. coli infection. It would typically can get into the milk from the cow’s udder or from milking equipment.

Meat

There is a high chance that you may get E.coli from the meat that you bought from the market. When meat is processed, sometimes bacteria from the animals’ intestines make their way into the meat. This happens more often with ground meat because it comes from more than one animal.

Other people

Sometimes you may get E.coli infection from another infected person. For instance, when you clean up your child, the bacteria can pass on to you, if you don’t wash your hands properly and instead touch your mouth or nose.

In some patients (particularly young children and the elderly), the infection may lead to a life-threatening disease, such as haemolytic uraemic syndrome (HUS). In fact, WHO estimates that up to 10% of patients with STEC infection may develop HUS, with a case-fatality rate ranging from 3 to 5 percent.

Now, some of the symptoms of this infection include severe abdominal cramps, vomiting and bloody diarrhoea. So if you spot any of these signs after eating the aforementioned foods, we recommend getting immediate medical help.

As a preventative measure, here are a few things you can do at home.

Tips For Parent’s To Prevent E.coli Infection At Home

E.coli outbreak
E.coli outbreak

Washing hands is essential to keep E.coli infection away (Photo Courtesy: pixabay)

Wash your hands: One of the most important tips to prevent any infection–be it COVID-19 or e-coli–is to wash your hands thoroughly and several times throughout the day. Set up a reminder to wash your hands every time, especially:

  • Before you prepare food

  • After changing your baby’s diaper or using the washroom

  • Before preparing bottles or food for infants or toddlers

  • Before touching anything, such as a pacifier that goes into a small child’s mouth

  • After handling raw meat

  • After touching animals, including your own pet

Avoid swallowing water: When you’re swimming, try not to swallow the water. Whether it’s a pool, a lake, or the ocean, as it may be tainted with E. coli from faeces.

Handle your raw meat items with care: Maintain a different cooker and a chopper whenever you cut meat. Maintain hygiene and other safety precautions to avoid food contamination.

Keep your food at safe temperatures: The food needs to be stored at safe temperatures. If you feel the food is smelly or the taste has changed, don’t take the risk of consuming it. Cooked meals, frozen as well as tinned products need to be stored safely. Read the label for more instructions on the temperatures as well as the expiry.

Cook thoroughly: In order to kill any germ present in a raw meat food item, you need to cook it thoroughly.

If your child has been infected, don’t worry, take your little one to the doctor. If that’s not possible, all you need to do is take the necessary action, be clean and hygienic and maintain the same order with your child.

Know that the incubation period of e-coli can range from 3 to 8 days, with a median of 3 to 4 days and most patients recover within 10 days. But in severe cases, it may require medication and hospitalisation.

Treatment For E.coli.

The treatment in most cases will start after your stool sample is collected and analysed. Most E.coli infections usually go away on its own. However, in cases of severe diarrhoea, antibiotics will be able to help you or your child and provide relief.

Don’t engage in self-medication because in case you have a fever and bloody diarrhoea, antibiotics should not be taken. They can sometimes increase the production of Shiga toxin and worsen your symptoms.

Drink plenty of water and increase your intake of fluids to avoid the risk of dehydration. Take rest and sleep properly. Maintain good hygiene, stay safe and eat healthy to keep yourself protected from any infection.

News Source: The Straits Times, WebMD

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