A large E. coli outbreak is being shared between the US and Canada right now. Officially, the FDA has not pinpointed a source to the outbreak. Unofficially, Consumer Reports is warning everyone to stay away from romaine lettuce until a recall is made. Because romaine lettuce is the likely culprit, and because it’s often eaten raw, it’s a high enough risk for foodborne illness to throw what you have in the fridge and avoid buying it until further notice.

These sort of outbreaks are caused by contamination from animal feces, or by contact with bacteria from raw meat somewhere along the line (with produce it usually happens during processing, one thing contaminates one piece of equipment and it spreads and grows). Not all E. coli strains are as bad as others, but this outbreak has had several illnesses, and people with weakened immune systems are always more at risk.

Besides following precautions and recalls, there are other ways to stay safe. Make sure to always follow food safety guidelines by using frequent hand-washing, frequent cleaning (especially to avoid cross contamination by raw meat) and cooking to food safe temps. Keep foods either cold or hot (not warm, and don’t leave them sitting out in the sun) and throw away expired food.

You can also make sure that you’ve got a strong, healthy gut. Healthy habits (sleep, exercise, lots of fruits and vegetables) play a big role in supporting that, but you can also reinforce it by taking a probiotic supplement like Flora MGR.

Probiotics are the good bacteria in our gut that aid digestion, and crowd out and fight off bad pathogens. They thrive on good health habits, but you can replenish them (or reseed) with probiotic supplements like Flora MGR.

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