E. coli – Japan

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3 453 students and others at 15 public schools in the city of Yashio, Saitama Prefecture, eastern Japan, fell ill after eating a salad harboring E. coli bacteria.

Students had developed symptoms including stomach pains and diarrhea after eating the school-lunch provided salad.

The cause of the food poisoning was found to be that wakame seaweed and seaweed salad mix ingredients were not heated up to kill bacteria after being soaked in water.

School lunches remain suspended at the city’s schools, and students are expected to bring their own packed lunches until August 4.

Most types of E. coli are harmless and even help keep your digestive tract healthy. But some strains can cause diarrhea if you eat contaminated food or drink fouled water.

Photo: E coli at 10 000 x magnification.

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