How can I prevent E. coli infection?

The risk of an E. coli infection can be reduced by using safe food preparation methods, including the following:

  • Avoid undercooked foods.
  • Use a food thermometer when cooking meat, and cook it to at least 155 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Don’t “cross-contaminate” a cooking surface. If you had raw meat or chicken on a cooking surface, such as a cutting board, wash it thoroughly with soap and water before putting another type of food (such as a raw vegetable) on it.
  • Use plastic or ceramic cutting boards to cut raw meat, as they can be cleaned more effectively than wooden cutting boards.
  • Don’t put a cooked hamburger on a plate that has had raw ground beef or any other raw meat on it.
  • Don’t defrost frozen meat on the counter.
  • Keep frozen meat in a separate plastic bag (for example, a plastic grocery bag) when thawing.
  • Wash all raw fruits and vegetables before eating them.
  • Wash your hands thoroughly after handling raw meat and before and after cooking.

In addition, it’s important to wash your hands after using the restroom, or after contact with animals.

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 09/27/2017.


Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our site helps support our mission. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services. Policy