Preventing Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) and Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome (HUS)

Consumers can prevent E. coli by:

Minimizing Your Risk

Wash your hands

  • Wash hands after using the bathroom and changing diapers, and before handling or eating any food.

  • Make sure that persons with diarrhea, especially children, wash their hands carefully and frequently with soap to reduce the risk of spreading the infection.
    • This is particularly in daycare/preschool situations, where many outbreaks have occurred due to person-to-person spread.

  • Always wash hands after contact with farm animals, animal feces, and animal environments.
    • Young calves are especially important carriers of E. coli

  • Hand Hygiene
    Wash Your Hands!

Cook and serve your food at the appropriate temperatures

  • Thoroughly cook raw meat to destroy the bacteria.
    • Ground beef and hamburgers should be cooked until they are no longer pink in the middle.

  • If you are served an undercooked hamburger or other ground beef product in a restaurant, send it back for further cooking.

  • Storage and Cooking Temperatures
    Learn more about storage and cooking temperatures

  • Defrost food in the refrigerator, in cold water, or in the microwave. Food should be stored in a refrigerator that is 40°F or cooler or a freezer that is 0°F or cooler.

Keep your food preparation areas clean

  • Never place cooked hamburgers or ground beef on the unwashed plate that held raw patties.

  • Wash raw fruits and vegetables before eating.

  • Keep raw meat separate from produce and other foods when shopping for and storing groceries.

  • Wash hands, cutting boards, countertops, cutlery, and utensils after touching raw meat.

Avoid unpasteurized beverages

  • Drink only pasteurized milk, juice, or cider.

  • Avoid foods made from unpasteurized milk.

Serve irradiated hamburger

  • Food Irradiation
    Irradiation is one of an emerging family of "end point" pasteurization technologies, which can be used to eliminate potential disease-causing microbes from our food before it goes to the consumer.

Be careful when dealing with animals

  • Always wash hands after contact with farm animals, animal feces, and animal environments.
    • Young calves are especially important carriers of E. coli


  • Escherichia coli Infection and Animals
    CDC; Protect yourself against getting E-coli from animals. Attention: Non-MDH link

Keep ill children home from daycare and preschool

Use caution when swimming

  • Avoid swallowing lake or pool water while swimming.

  • Anyone with a diarrheal illness should avoid swimming in public pools or lakes, sharing baths with others, and preparing food for others.

  • Healthy Swimming
    CDC; Contains information on recreational waterborne illnesses. Attention: Non-MDH link


Do you suspect that you have a foodborne illness? Visit reporting suspected foodborne illnesses.

Updated Thursday, 17-Jul-2014 09:33:25 CDT