Grimewatch has learnt that the beastly bacterium Eric Coli, who also goes by the name Escherichia Coli (or E. coli to his friends), has been seen lurking amongst the flooring cracks of food and beverage production facilities with his accomplices the Masters of Grime.
A Felonious Family
The information in Eric Coli’s Grimewatch file states that he comes from a large family known as the Enterobacteriacea. Not all of the family are bad, in fact some can be quite nice, but many others such as Eric wantonly contaminate foodstuffs and cause foodborne illnesses. Of these revolting relatives Eric has carved out a position as the diabolical Don of his own microbial Mafia!
Mr Coli distinguishes himself from his family members by creating Shiga Toxin – which is easily capable of spreading illness amongst humans. In the vast majority of cases this is achieved through contaminating food products at the point of production, processing and storage and then lying in wait for the produce to be distributed to the general populace.
Shiga Toxin producing E. coli (STEC) are masters of infiltration, as their high tolerance to acid and ability to survive in a wide range of temperatures means that they can lie in wait in a vast number of different foodstuffs including meat, poultry, fruits, vegetables, seafood and water.
Once in the stomach Eric and his STEC sickophants grab onto cells in the intestinal tract, causing these cells to die and once this happens it can lead to severe problems such as haemolytic uraemic syndrome (HUS).
Reports on the activity of Eric Coli and co indicate that masterminding STEC infections is in part a seasonal preoccupation for the contamination cohorts, as a significant percentage of their crimes are reported in summer. It is believed that the higher temperatures at this time make it easier for the pathogens to proliferate.
International Microbe of Misery
In today’s interconnected world Eric is able to contaminate food in one location knowing that it could just as easily be sent either around the corner or around the globe!
The widespread damage potential of Eric was exemplified by one of his recent crimes. In 2011 a bacterial outbreak caused by contaminated fenugreek seeds from Egypt began in Germany and swiftly moved to 11 other countries, including as far away as North America.
And the virulence of the Shiga Toxin can be seen in a wide variety of cases, such as in 1995 when over 150 serious cases of STEC infection were reported in Australia solely because of a contaminated batch of undercooked fermented mettwurst. The company responsible went into bankruptcy shortly after the outbreak.
Grime Doesn’t Pay
Fortunately for food and beverage producers everywhere a hero is out there whose sole aim is to eliminate Eric Coli before he can carry out his crimes of contamination!
Hygiene Boy is able to channel the power of Polygiene® to destroy bacteria gathering on the floor – getting rid of them before they can use the floor’s surface as a base to sabotage the sanitary integrity of the facility’s food or beverage products.
Over the next two weeks Grimewatch will be posting more information on Hygiene Boy and his arch-rivals the Masters of Grime. Visitors to Flowcrete Australia’s stand at foodpro 2014 (F14) will be able to find