Effective December 2, 2009, bottled water makers such as Coca-Cola Company and PepsiCo Inc will be operating under stricter standards to prevent contamination by the dangerous, sometimes deadly, <"http://www.yourlawyer.com/topics/overview/e_coli_escherichia_coli">E. coli bacteria, reported Bloomberg.com.
The mandates includes weekly source water testing for germs, which is currently required on finished water products, said Bloomberg.com, citing the U.S. Food and Drug Administrationâ€™s (FDA) notice, which has been posted to the agencyâ€™s Website.
A positive E. coli test will require bottlers to provide, in writing, details on how the firm removed the pathogen and to conduct retests before the water can be used, explained Bloomberg.com. â€œBottled water containing E. coli will be considered adulterated, and source water containing E. coli will not be considered to be of a safe, sanitary quality and will be prohibited from use in the production of bottled water,â€ the FDA wrote in the notice, quoted Bloomberg.com.
The new â€œbottled water policies,â€ were first suggested this past September and were developed to meet 2006 U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) standards for public drinking water said Bloomberg, citing the FDA.
Bloomberg.com explained that E. coli â€œis an indicator of fecal contamination.â€ E. coli may cause fatal blood poisoning, cystitis, deadly septicemia, and death. Symptoms of E. coli infection include stomach cramps and watery diarrhea that may turn bloody within one to three days. E. coli generally taints meat through improper butchering and processing practices and, once released in the body, produces the Shiga-producing toxins that have been linked to kidney damage in young children, and can also lead to kidney failure and death.
In recent years the transmission route for E. coli is shifting and not always caused by meat consumption, with outbreaks occurring more and more with direct and indirect animal contactâ€”zoonotic contactâ€”such as at petting zoos, said the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Also, consuming contaminated produce, milk, water, or juice or swimming in or drinking sewage-contaminated water can pass the E. coli infection, as can poor hygiene or hand-washing habits when bacteria in diarrheal stools are involved. According to CDC estimates, there are over 110,000 cases of E. coli infection and 90 deaths linked to E. coli occurring in the U.S. annually.
Some shiga-producing E. coli infectionsâ€”such as strain O111 and O157:H7â€”are diarrheagenic bacteria termed â€œenterohemorrhagic E. coli.â€ Strain O111 is the pathogen responsible for what is believed to be the largest E. coli O111 outbreak in history and that was linked to Country Cottage Restaurant. In that outbreak 314 people fell ill, scores were hospitalized, and one man died; a number of children required dialysis.
Bellboy Donald Strain O157:H7 is the more common of the strains and has been recently blamed for the Valley Meats Class I recall of 95,898 pounds of ground beef products. A Class I health hazard situation is one in which there is a reasonable probability that the use of the product will cause serious, adverse health consequences or death.