Emergency Pathogen Control – Esherichia Coli

 Factory Clean

Targeting Escherichia Coli

Contact our emergency cleaning team by emailing [email protected].

Escherichia coli O157 (commonly abbreviated E. coli O157) is a harmful bacterium that is particularly dangerous because it has the ability to survive during refrigeration and freezing and has been shown to be tolerant of acid, salt and dry conditions. If consumed, even at very low doses, it can lead to death or serious untreatable illness. Even after recovery from infection, some cases are left with permanent kidney or brain damage. Special attention should always be regarded to vulnerable groups, such as young children or the elderly.

Role in Food Processing

E.Coli is found in the intestinal tract of animals such as birds, reptiles, farm animals, humans and occasionally insects. As intestinal forms, they may also be found in (polluted) water.  E.Coli is used as a marker of faecal contamination.

There are four virulent groups of E.Coli, amongst which is the commonly reported strain of 0157.

Hamburger products were responsible for 12 out of 29 (Stx. producing strain) outbreaks, between 1982 – 1995 in USA.

Mortality rates were low with only 38 deaths out of 2069 cases, in the same report. One case in Canada accounted for 19 of the deaths.

  • pH:  4.4  Optimum 6.0 – 7.0
  • Temperature: Minimum  4oC, Optimum Growth 20oC to 45oC
  • Most strains produce spores.

Found in intestinal tract of humans and other animals.

Also found in soils and water.

Check any staff with recent case of diarrhoea.

Thoroughly clean and sanitise receiving area and transport crates / lugs.

Check crates for biofilm, cleanliness, sanitation and rotation.

Check hand washing – see S.Aureus.

Pay particular attention to slaughter areas, evisceration and offal areas.

Clean, sanitise thoroughly

Mincers, formers and secondary high risk equipment

Minimise cross contamination by enforcing colour coding if applicable.

Acid Wash – This should be used in all cases of Pathogen or high bacterial counts.

It removes scale, which is a base for biofilms.

It will aid removal of biofilms.

The acidic environment will at least inhibit, if not halt the growth of bacteria.

If followed by standard alkaline wash, the resultant pH shock will again kill off most bacteria, and at least severely inhibit growth.

The alternative sanitizer (prescribed as part of acid wash), will at least inhibit, if not halt the growth of bacteria.


Monitor receiving area and transport crates / lugs.

Monitor movement of staff and materials between slaughter and other departments.

Monitor crates and lugs with extra swabbing.

Review production facility swab results.

Hamburger production equipment (if applicable)


Modern Food Microbiology

Staph. Aureus – for hand washing guide.

EXAMPLE Procedure

Emergency Pathogen Cleaning

Bacillus Cereus

Clostridium Perfringens


Staphylococcus Aureus

Campylobacter Jejuni

Escherichia Coli


EXAMPLE Procedure

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