Protecting Your Family from E-Coli

Knoxville (WVLT) - The Tennessee Department of Health is leading a national outbreak investigation of e-coli associated with frozen pizzas.

The recalled pizzas include Totino's Party Supreme, Totino's Three Meat, Totino's Pepperoni, Totino's Classic Pepperoni, Totino's Party Combo, Totino's Combo, Jeno's Crisp-n-Tasty Supreme, Jeno's Crisp-n-Tasty Pepperoni, Jeno's Crisp-n-Tasty combo.

The recalled packages have a "Best If Used By Date" on or before April 2, 2008.

Volunteer TV's Lauren Davis talked with health officials to find out how you can keep your family safe from the bacteria.

If you have any of the frozen pizzas in your freezer, Environmental Health Director Ronnie Nease says take the pizzas to the health department for testing.

For all others who are cooking anything, make sure it's thoroughly cooked and your family is safe.

Mother of four, Tamara Longworth found Totino brand frozen pizzas in her freezer after seeing an article yesterday on www.volunteertv.com.

"This actually hits home, it's scary," said Longworth.

She cut off the UPC codes and threw away the pizzas.

But, she's finding it harder and harder to protect her family.

"Scary, now everyday products we use in our homes can affect us in such negative ways," she said.

So, Tamara has been taking more precautions to make sure foods like pizzas are fully cooked.

"But, when you're cooking pizzas you're supposed to cook out the dangerous bacteria," said Longworth.

Thoroughly cooking your food is the key.

Health experts say if you cook it to 160 degrees, that will kill all bacteria.

"You can't guess though, you have to have a thermometer in the kitchen," said Ronnie Nease.

There is one more thing when it comes to cooking frozen pizzas.

"Microwaving isn't appropriate way to cook pizza because microwave heat isn't uniform, it might have spot that's hot and the rest isn't," said Nease.

And that could mean the difference in keeping your family safe from e-coli infections.

A total of 21 lab confirmed cases of e-coli have been identified nationwide.

There were 8 cases in Tennessee and five of those people were hospitalized.

All 8 patients have now recovered.

For more details on the recall, click on the link below.


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