Two children, who live in Rhône and Ain, were recently contaminated with Escherichia Coli bacteria (E.Coli) after consuming morbier, revealed progress. The two children, aged 7 and 18 months, had to be temporarily placed in an artificial coma and risk long-term after-effects. Because while the majority of E. coli strains are harmless, others can cause a serious complication, hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). Children under 15 and the elderly are most at risk of developing this serious form, underlines ANSES.
In 2022, the year of the latest available data, 253 cases of hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) were recorded in children under 15 years old, according to the data of Public Health France. However, it is possible to protect yourself from this by adopting certain consumption rules.
No raw milk cheeses for children
The two children recently infected were infected in eating morbier. However, raw cow’s milk cheeses are not recommended for young children. Placed on the market without prior treatment, these foods made from raw milk are in fact particularly sensitive to possible contamination by pathogenic bacteria. “Despite the precautions taken by professionals, infection of the udders or an incident during milking can lead to contamination of the milk by pathogenic bacteria naturally present in the digestive tract of ruminants,” underlines the Ministry of Agriculture.
Sensitive people, including young children and in particular those under 5 years old, should not consume raw milk or raw milk cheeses such as Reblochon, Roquefort, Salers, Brie, Pélardon. , certain Camemberts or even Morbier and Mont d’Or. Young children can, however, eat pressed, cooked cheeses, such as Gruyère, Comté, Emmental or Beaufort, but also processed spreadable cheeses or pasteurized milk cheeses.
Cook red meat
Another precaution to adopt when you have young children at home: cook meat thoroughly. This particularly concerns minced beef, but also preparations based on minced meat. Minced meat must be cooked to a core temperature above 70°C for at least two minutes. The meat is then brown in color and the flesh is firm.
Be careful with pasta, pizza or cake
In 2022, around fifty people were contaminated by E. coli bacteria after eating Buitoni brand pizzas. The people infected were almost all children. The Ministry of Health recommends not consuming flour-based preparations raw or lightly cooked, whether pizza, cookie dough, cakes or pies.
No uncontrolled water
Transmission of E. coli bacteria can also be avoided by washing vegetables, salad, fruit or aromatic herbs before consumption. Children should also not drink untreated water, from a well or a stream for example. The Ministry of Health also advises avoiding swallowing water when swimming in a lake or pond.
Hygiene rules to respect
In addition to these rules for consuming certain foods, hygiene measures can also limit the risk of contamination. It is therefore necessary to systematically wash your hands before preparing meals. Cooking utensils and countertops should be washed thoroughly, especially when the utensils have been in contact with raw food. The Ministry of Health also recommends storing raw foods separately from those cooked or ready to eat, but also to quickly consume dishes stored in the refrigerator.
Finally, children under five years old must avoid contact with cows, calves, sheep, goats or deer and their environment. If necessary, hand washing should be systematic.