E. Coli

AUGUST 2002
ISSN 1533-3361
In This Issue
Water: Miracle of Life / Cause of Death? Food News E. Coli

ASSALAAMU ALAIKUM WA RAHMATULLAH
Alhamdulillah was-salatu was-salaamu 'ala rasoolillah. All thanks and praise is to ALLAH, Subhanahu wa ta'ala, and we ask that HIS blessings and peace be upon HIS Messenger, Muhammad, salla ALLAHu alaihi wa sallam. Pumpkin
WATER: MIRACLE OF LIFE / CAUSE OF DEATH?
Bacteria Drink lots of water! Have a drink of water? Donít forget to drink a lot of water! I am sure all of us have been reminded to drink more water during the summer or when we exercise or do heavy labor. Most of the time, we want to do that anyway because we are thirsty. We may have never thought that drinking too much water could be harmful. Well, maybe we were wrong. The US military has documented a number of cases where over-hydration with water has had harmful and even fatal effects.

Colonel John W. Gardner published a number of articles on the subject in Military Medicine. The articles discuss a number of cases of recruits who ëoverdosedí on water. In 1995, nine previously healthy Marine Corp recruits in South Carolina exhibited nausea, vomiting and confusion. Five of them developed seizures and delirium and then progressed into comas. After treatment, they were all able to return to normal duties.

In 1997, a previously healthy 18-year-old soldier at Fort Benning vomited and began complaining of dizziness, headache and nausea. He drank about 8 quarts of water before this. He rested and as it was a hot day, he was given more water, lots of it. He became lethargic, lost consciousness and died with diffuse cerebral and brainstem edema. (Edema is an abnormal accumulation of fluid.)

On a hot and humid day in South Carolina in 1999, a 20-year-old Marine Corps recruit came to a field station after a 9-hour hike and obstacle course exercise. While under evaluation, he had a seizure followed by another one on the way to the hospital. Over the next half a day, he diuresed over 6 liters. After a 5-day hospitalization, he was released and returned to recruit training.

Human Brain Also during 1999, a 19-year-old Air Force recruit collapsed during a 6-mile hike. He had a body temperature of 108°F. He had also vomited. He later died of fatal cerebral edema. Over-hydration is suspected to have contributed to his death.

In 2000, a 20-year-old Army trainee reported for advanced training after returning from leave. She was not feeling well so she was excused from training for that day. The next morning she reported for drug testing but could not produce a urine specimen. She was instructed to remain on site, drink water and exercise until she provided a specimen. She drank about 12 quarts of water over the next four hours. Then she developed fecal incontinence, became confused, lost consciousness and died of cerebral and pulmonary edema.

There are other examples and all have a common denominator. Each victim had consumed a large volume of water in a short time, up to 20 quarts in a 2-hour period. In some cases, the victims were given more water after they developed symptoms that were diagnosed as dehydration. This caused the patients to suffer hyponatremia, a dilution of sodium in the blood stream. The sodium serum levels in the fatal cases were less than 130 mmol/L and sometimes near 120 mmol/L. Normal levels are above 140 mmol/L. The retention of 1 liter of water would cause a reduction of 4-5 mmol/L of sodium in the blood of a 60 kg female. To reduce the level from 140 to 120, she would have to retain 4-5 liters of water.

Salt Shaker In 1998, the US Army approved new fluid replacement guidelines that limit water intake not more than 1.5 quarts per hour and 12 quarts per day. This was based on arguments that the gastrointestinal system cannot absorb more than 1.5 quarts per hour during exercise. Drinking more than this is likely to cause nausea and hyponatremia.

The body is a complex organism with many reactions and balances that must be maintained to stay healthy. While this information should not scare us from rehydrating as we lose fluids due to exercise, heat or other activities, it is important to recognize that over-hydration is just as serious a condition as dehydration.

Once again, living by the Islamic guidelines provides a proper basis for eating and drinking. Those guidelines teach avoiding excesses of food and drink and eating no more than one third of the stomachís capacity and drinking no more than one third the stomachís capacity.

(Information in this article was extracted from articles in the May 2002 issue of Military Magazine: International Journal of AMSUS, Volume 167/5, written by Colonel John W. Gardner, with the permission of the Association of Military Surgeons of US.) pumpkin


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FOOD NEWS
newspaper Dr. Mohamad Sadek, International Driector of IFANCA and Vice-President of the World Halal Food Council is attending the Council's last meeting in Kuala Lumpur.
Human Stomach, Intestines & Colon Friends of the Earth reports that a study has found a genetically engineered crop gene in the bacteria from the human digestive system. In a study published by the British Foods Safety Standards Agency, participants ate a single meal containing genetically engineered soy. An herbicide resitant gene from the genetically engineered soy was found in bacteria in the small intestines of 3 out of 7 participants. (Reported on Friends of the Earth.htm on June 17, 2002.)
newspaper Hormone-contaminated waste from an Irish pharmaceutical factory has found its way into pig feed in the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany. This has caused the closure of over 300 farms in Germany. (Reported on www.foodingredientsfirst.com on July 18, 2002.)
capsule The National Health Center reports Americans spend over $1.7 billion a year on vitamin supplements. (Reported on www.foodingredientsfirst.com on July 24, 2002.)
Magnifying Glass Garry McKee, Wyoming's Health Director has been nominated to oversee the federal government's Food Safety and Inspection Service. The service has come under criticism for being slow to act on the the discovery at a Greeley slaughterhouse. (Reported on www.foodingredientsonline.com on July 24, 2002.)
newspaper General Mills will eliminate capacity by closing the Pillsbury plant in Hillsdale, Michigan. The closure will cost 200 jobs. (Reported on www.foodingredientsonline.com on July 23, 2002.)
newspaper Con Agra is voluntarily recalling 19 million pounds of ground beef that may be infected with E. Coli bacteria. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed 17 illnesses from E. Coli infection among consumers who ate the meat from the Greeley, Colorado plant. This is a national recall as the meat has been distributed throught the nation. (Reported on www.foodingredientsonline.com on July 20, 2002.)
no genetically modified organisms The Japanese Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare will ease restrictions on food additives that are internationally accepted. Previous policy was to recommend additive-free foods only. Consumer groups are sure to resist the change. (Reported on www.foodingredientsonline.com on July 12, 2002.)
Grain US crop production will fall short of consumption for the first time in many years and world soybean and wheat inventories are at their lowest point since 1996. (Reported on www.just-food.com on July 24, 2002.)
Grain UAE frozen food producer Co-Op Islami is discussing meat imports with the Ethiopian Government. Ethiopia is the 10th largest meat exporter in the world. Co-Op Islami is a leading Halal meat producer in the UAE and Gulf region. (Reported on www.gulf-news.com on July 28, 2002.)
Hamburger Diageo, the UK's largest wine and spirits producer has sold Burger King Corporation to a consortium including Goldman Sachs. Diageo will concentrate on their drinks business. (Reported on www.just-food.com.com on July 25, 2002.) Pumpkin

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E. COLI
Bacteria Eschericia coli, often referred to as E. coli, bacteria are commonly found in the intestines of humans and animals. They come in different types. Some types are not harmful and in fact, are required for proper health, providing Vitamin K and Vitamins B. Others can cause serious illness and even death.

One of the harmful types is E. coli O157:H7. E. coli O157:H7 is an enterohemorrhagic strain that causes hemorrhaging. This strain releases a toxin that damages the cells lining the wall of the intestine.

The bacteria are spread by various foods, including ham, turkey, undercooked ground beef, cheese, raw vegetables, unpasteurized milk and apple cider and contaminated water. It can also be spread from an infected person to others by hand to mouth contact. It is very important to observe good hygiene and to wash hands before eating or touching the mouth.

There are various precautions that can be taken to prevent infection by E. coli. These include:

  • Cooking ground beef thoroughly so the meat is no longer pink and the juice is clear. This generally means getting the meat to a temperature of at least 70ƒC (160ƒF).
  • Avoiding the consumption of unpasteurized milk or apple cider.
  • Washing all fruits and vegetables thoroughly before consumption.
  • Practicing good hygiene and being sure to wash hands before eating and after using the toilet or handling pets, livestock and diapers and before preparing or cooking foods.
  • Cleaning utensils and counter tops thoroughly after contact with raw meat or poultry.
  • Keeping cold foods below 4ƒC (39ƒF) and hot foods above 70ƒC.
  • Avoiding drinking from open streams or lakes.
  • Being extremely careful when preparing foods if you suffer from diarrhea. It is best to avoid food preparation in such cases.
  • Avoiding the use of the same utensils for raw meat and for cooked meat without thoroughly washing them between the two items.
Symptoms of E. coli related illness could include stomach cramps, diarrhea, fever, nausea, vomiting and bloody stools. If you suspect E. coli infection, consult a physician. The elderly and the young are most at risk of serious illness from E. coli, but serious complications may affect others as well. Anyone suffering from diarrhea should be sure to stay hydrated and to maintain electrolyte balance. If nausea and vomiting prevent proper hydration, intravenous fluids may be required.

E. coli related illness was first recognized in 1982 when a severe outbreak of diarrhea occurred. The cause was contaminated hamburgers. Ground beef or hamburgers seem to be the major contributor to E. coli outbreaks. If the bacteria are present in the beef, it is normally on the surface. However, when the beef is ground, it becomes mixed in all the meat. In the United States, there are around 73,000 infections and 60 deaths every year related to E. coli O157:H7.

Over the years, there have been a number of food recalls due to E. coli contamination. Most recently, Con Agra recalled 19 million pounds of contaminated ground beef. Past E. coli incidents have involved ground beef, apple juice, raw milk, fresh cheese curds, alfalfa sprouts, contaminated lake water and salami.

The best way to eliminate E. coli is at the source. Until that is accomplished, be sure to wash your hands frequently and before eating and after using the toilet or handling diapers, and make sure you wash raw fruits and vegetables thoroughly, cook meat and poultry well and avoid raw milk and dairy products. Pumpkin


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