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Bakersfield E. Coli Attorney

Escherichia coli, abbreviated as E. coli, is a bacterium found in the intestinal tracts of both humans and animals. While most strains are harmless and important for a healthy gut flora, some strains can lead to severe illnesses.

Foods Often Linked to E. coli Outbreaks in California

While not all E. coli oubreaks come from food items, many do, such as those from:

Ground Beef

  • Reason: E. coli naturally resides in the intestines of cattle. During the slaughtering process, bacteria from the intestines can contaminate the meat. Ground beef is particularly risky because the grinding process mixes any bacteria present on the surface throughout the meat.
  • Prevention: Cook ground beef to an internal temperature of at least 160°F (71°C). Avoid consuming undercooked or rare ground beef.

Leafy Greens

  • Types: Lettuce, spinach, kale, arugula, and other leafy vegetables.
  • Reason: Leafy greens can be contaminated with E. coli through exposure to contaminated water or soil during growing, harvesting, or processing. Contamination can also occur via handling and washing.
  • PreventionWash leafy greens thoroughly under running water. Consider using a salad spinner to remove excess water. Buy pre-washed and packaged greens only if they are labeled as such.

Unpasteurized Milk and Dairy Products

  • Types: Raw milk, cheese made from raw milk (such as queso fresco), yogurt, and other dairy products.
  • Reason: Raw milk can harbor E. coli because it has not been heat-treated (pasteurized) to kill harmful bacteria.
  • Prevention: Consume only pasteurized milk and dairy products. Avoid raw milk and products made from it.

Unpasteurized Juices

  • Types: Freshly squeezed or unpasteurized fruit and vegetable juices.
  • Reason: Juices can become contaminated with E. coli if the fruits or vegetables used to make them are contaminated and not properly washed or if the equipment used is not clean.
  • Prevention: Drink pasteurized juices or boil unpasteurized juices before consumption.


  • Types: Alfalfa, clover, radish, mung bean, and other types of sprouts.
  • Reason: The warm, humid conditions needed to grow sprouts are also ideal for the growth of E. coli. Contamination can occur during the sprouting process from contaminated seeds or water.
  • Prevention: Cook sprouts thoroughly to kill any potential bacteria. Be cautious when consuming raw sprouts, especially if you are in a high-risk group (young children, elderly, pregnant women, and immunocompromised individuals).

Raw Fruits and Vegetables

  • Types: Apples, berries, tomatoes, cucumbers, and other fresh produce.
  • Reason: Raw fruits and vegetables can be contaminated through contact with contaminated water, soil, or surfaces during growing, harvesting, or processing.
  • PreventionWash fruits and vegetables thoroughly under running water before eating, cutting, or cooking. Use a brush for produce with hard surfaces.

Deli Meats

  • Types: Sliced meats such as turkey, ham, roast beef, and salami.
  • Reason: Deli meats can become contaminated through handling and cross-contamination during slicing and packaging.
  • Prevention: Store deli meats at proper temperatures and consume them within recommended time frames. Practice good hygiene when handling deli meats.

Undercooked Poultry

  • Types: Chicken, turkey, duck, and other poultry products.
  • Reason: Although less common than beef, poultry can also be a source of E. coli if not cooked properly.
  • Prevention: Cook poultry to an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C). Avoid cross-contamination with other foods by using separate cutting boards and utensils.

By understanding these food sources and implementing proper handling and preparation techniques, the risk of E. coli infection can be significantly reduced.

Bakersfield E. coli Statistics

Between 2012 and 2019, Kern County’s E. coli incidence rate per 100,000 people was significantly lower than the statewide incidence rate. However, Kern County was still impacted by a spike in E. coli cases that affected California during 2018 and 2019.

2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020
California 1.5 1.5 1.7 2.3 2.2 3.2 5.7 6.6 3.1
Kern County 0.6 0.8 1.4 1.7 1.2 1.5 4.7 4.6 3.2


A January 2, 2019, health bulletin by the Kern County Public Health Services Department provided information regarding an E. coli outbreak linked to romaine lettuce. The department also encouraged people to get tested to see if they had any symptoms of gastrointestinal illness to assist in the outbreak investigations. This outbreak was labeled romaine lettuce B, as it was the second E. coli outbreak linked to romaine lettuce in 2018. Romaine lettuce B impacted 16 states and caused 62 illnesses, with 12 people from California becoming ill. The outbreak was traced back to a farm in Santa Barbara, California.

Don’t Wait to The Ball Rolling

If E. coli has impacted your life, call The Lange Law Firm at (833) 330-3663 or contact us online for a free consultation. Our dedicated team will investigate and pursue the compensation you deserve.