Another E. Coli Outbreak – This Time It's Peanut Butter
You think you're doing the right thing by choosing healthier alternatives to popular mainstream products. But somehow they get tainted too. If you regularly enjoy SoyNut, you might want to stay away for a few weeks.
Commercial peanut butter isn't just peanuts. It can have a significant amount of sugar and preservatives added to it. And if you're allergic to peanuts, which is a common allergy, then you'll be sure not to buy peanut butter at all.
Because of these reasons, you might turn to a natural alternative, like SoyNut Butter, which is a butter spread made of soybeans. Ideally, it carries all the health benefits of soy foods, like tofu, while being usable as peanut butter on bread. But, somehow things can go wrong – at least that's how it is for Arizona, California, Maryland, Oregon, and New Jersey. In these states, cases of SoyNut Butter have been contaminated with E. coli.
E. coli is naturally present in your colon, but not in your upper gastrointestinal tract. Some strains of E. coli are dangerous – and these are what are in contaminated food, like SoyNut Butter's recalled cases. These dangerous strains produce Shiga toxin, which if released in your gut, can cause diarrhea and bloody diarrhea. But, if Shiga toxin enters your bloodstream, it can cause kidney damage and even renal failure.
What's scarier is that there are no counteractive medications for Shiga toxin – you just have to hope your body can neutralize it. Antibiotics only increase the toxin's effects. This is the reason why so many people die of E. coli infections each year. In fact, 265,000 E. coli infections happen in the U.S. annually.
Although E. coli is scary, it's also a completely preventable infection if you take the following precautions:
- Wash your hands before eating to remove any possible E. coli that have landed on your hands.
- Cook your food before eating. Even if you're eating veggies, boil, bake, or fry your food before eating.
- Avoid fast food. You have no control over food preparation at fast food places, so be safe and don't eat there.
- Microwave food products. If you're using ready-to-eat food products, like peanut butter spreads or jellies, be safe and sterilize your serving in the microwave first. If they're contaminated with E. coli or other microbes, the microwave will kill them.
Remember to stay away from SoyNut Butter for a bit. Avoid future E. coli infections by staying safe and being aware.