Beach Safety

If I say “E. coli,” I bet you’ll associate it with contaminated foods—from bagged baby spinach and romaine to steak and ground beef

Indeed, the most common sources of E. coli infection, according to the American Academy of Family Physicians, are: 

  • Eating undercooked ground beef (with a pink interior)
  • Drinking contaminated water
  • Drinking unpasteurized (raw) milk
  • Working with cattle  

But I’d like to bring your attention to a nonfood source of infection: beach sand, on which E. coli can thrive, grow and reproduce. Animals’ (dogs, cats, birds) fecal material is the usual source.

Unwrap your well-packed organic sandwich while soaking up some sun, and you could potentially ingest unwanted microbes. That’s why it’s critical to wash your hands after touching sand.