The recent recalls from Alberta Beef plant XL Foods have raised concerns about E. coli. There have been five cases of people contracting E. coli in Alberta some of which have been linked to steaks bought from a Costco in Edmonton with meat that arrived from the XL Foods plant in Brooks, Alberta.

E. coli is found in the intestines of man or animals more commonly known as "hamburger disease," Alberta Health Services states.

Common symptoms of the disease include mild dehydration and diarrhea and appear within three to four days of consumption, Alberta Health Services adds.

Albertas most recent ground beef recall has been expanded almost a dozen times, with roasts and sausages being added to the long list of recalls.

The video above explains some of the causes of E. coli. Disease specialist Brad Spellberg says that E. coli can be contracted by touching an object that has it on it or by ingesting food that has E. Coli on the food. There are many strains of E. coli that are drug resistant now that are spreading at alarming rates and "'we are seeing healthy people pick them up," he says.

There are different types of E. Coli some of which are a normal part of our body, Dr. Travis Stork explains.

Tom Dukes talks about his experience with his first bout of diverticulitis, which the host explains as being a pouch that appears in your colon. "You can see those little pouches and diverticulitis is when inflammation of that pouch occurs and that’s exactly what happened to Tom," he adds.

"When I first started my symptoms, it felt like extreme cramps as if somebody was reaching in and squeezing and twisting and got continually worst," Dukes said. "I ended up going to the doctor and I got some antibiotics."

The antibiotics worked well the first time around but when symptoms came back four months later, the pain was excruciating and the medicine not working.

This led to Dukes calling his daughter to take him to the emergency room where it was discovered that E. coli was in his body and he needed surgery quickly.

"I've never seen my dad in pain like that before. He just crawled up, shaking," his daughter said.

Doctors told him he didn't have a lot of time left, his colon had been perforated and he had been poisoning himself.

"They cut my stomach open and took my intestines and washed everything down. I ended up taking out 8 inches of my colon and my appendix because I had a very bad case of peritonitis," said Dukes. Following surgery he had lost 20 pounds and had a colostomy bag.

"The antibiotic was in my system, but chances are it didn’t kill what was in my colon, which was the gram negative ESBL E. coli. It happened to me," he said.

Stork mentions that Dukes is an active healthy guy, who adds that he has been working out religiously for the last 30 years. The doctors told him that if he wasn't in such good shape he may not have made it.

This can happen to healthy individuals says Spellberg, who is also the author of 'Rising Plague, the Global threat from Deadly Bacteria and Our Dwindling Arsenal to Fight Them.'

"The second time, he did not respond the antibiotics at all because the bacteria that causing the second infection was resistant to all oral antibiotics," explains Spellberg.

While E. coli is generally associated with ground meat, Alberta Health Services warns that the bacteria can also be found in foods including poultry, pork, cheese, sprouts, lettuce, yogurt, and unpasteurized milk and fruit juices and advises Albertans to take precaution.

Related on HuffPost:

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  • August 23

    Cows are slaughtered at XL Foods Inc. plant in Brooks, Alta. Beef slaughtered that day will later be recalled.

  • August 24, 27, 28 & 29

    Beef processed at the Brooks facility on these days is later recalled.

  • September 23

    Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is alerted by U.S. officials that beef from the Brooks plant has tested positive for E. coli bacteria. An investigation begins.

  • Septemeber 4

    Four consumers who bought Kirkland Signature brand strip loin grilling steaks from Edmonton Costco at 13650 50th St. N.E. later become ill.

  • September 4

    A Calgary girl, 4, is hospitalized for symptoms caused by E. coli bacteria.

  • September 11 & 12

    Four in Edmonton who ate Kirkland strip loin steak seek medical for symptoms of E. coli poisoning. Two went to hospital but all four are recovering.

  • September 16

    The CFIA issues their first warning, telling people not to eat, sell or serve 26 ground beef/ground-beef products sold at several major stores because they “may be contaminated with E. coli.” Although XL Foods Inc. voluntarily issued the recall, no reported illnesses have been linked to this recall.

  • September 17

    55 more ground beef and ground-beef products are added to the list of products recalled across Canada. All were manufactured at the XL plant in Brooks, Alta.

  • September 18

    Fourteen more products are added to the recall list.

  • September 19

    XL Foods releases a statement saying XL Foods prides itself on providing safe and high quality beef products. Meanwhile, the recall list by the CFIA grows to add 75 more items.

  • September 20

    The United States Food Safety and Inspection Service issues a public-health alert, while the CFIA adds another 37 products to the recall.

  • September 21

    Another 47 products are added to the recall.

  • September 22

    Another 10 products are added to the recall.

  • September 24

    An in-depth review uncovers “several deficiencies” during an investigation into the Brooks facility.

  • September 25

    - 60 products to the Canadian recall. - U.S. recalls products in California, Oregon, Michigan, Nebraska, Utah, Texas, Washington and Wisconsin. - Alberta Health Services (AHS) investigate a total of eight E. coli cases - four in Edmonton, three in Calgary and one in central Alberta. The tests confirm Edmonton patients were infected by E. coli-tainted steaks bought at Costco. The CFIA is notified about the test results.

  • Spetember 26

    - The CFIA recalls Kirkland steaks packaged and sold September 4-7 from the Edmonton Costco. - It is confirmed the steaks were processed by XL Foods Inc. in Brooks. - Costco stores are asked by top doctors to stop using a meat-tenderizing machine that could potentially move E. coli bacteria from the surface of the meat to the centre. - Ten states are now affected by the The United States Food Safety and Inspection Service recall.

  • September 27

    AHS investigates a fourth case of E. coli in Calgary. AHS is investigating what caused E. coli poisoning in the Calgary patient and the central Alberta patient.

  • September 28

    The Canadian Food Inspection Agency suspends the operating licence of XL Foods' Brooks plant.

  • September 28

    The Canadian Food Inspection Agency suspends the operating licence of XL Foods' Brooks plant

  • September 28

    There was no initial reason to order a public recall or shut down the XL Foods facility in Brooks, say officials from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, defending their delay in alerting the public.

  • September 28

    The Canadian Food Inspection Agency comes under fire. Alberta Premier Alison Redford and NDP MP Linda Duncan question the delay in alert.

  • September 28

    The Canadian Cattlemen's Association says it's possible federal regulators will clear the XL Foods beef plant to resume operations by next week but the real challenge will be getting U.S. to accept beef exports from the plant again.

  • September 29

    The beef recall expanded to Co-Op, Metro and Walmart stores in Canada.

  • September 30

    The beef recall gets expanded to include dozens of cuts of meat.

  • September 30

    Alberta Premier Alison Redford says Alberta beef is safe and that the province breeds a high quality product with the highest standards possible.

  • October 1

    The Liberals and the NDP gang up on the Conservative government over the safety of Canada's meat supply.

  • October 2

    Beef recall is expanded again. This time to include dozens of additional products including roasts and sausages.

  • October 2

    The XL Foods beef recall gets expanded to B.C. More than 20 B.C. retail chains pull beef products from their shelves as the Canadian Food Inspection Agency continues to expand the recall from the plant.

  • October 2

    The XL foods beef recall becomes the biggest beef recall in Canadian history.

  • October 4

    XL Foods finally breaks silence, issuing a press release in which they took responsibility for the circumstances that led to the recalls. Not much was made available in terms of explanation or courses of action. Meanwhile, the recall is expanded yet again.

  • October 5

    Workers at the XL plant in Brooks speak out and what they have to say is not pretty. They describe high output demands, low staffing levels of disgusting hygiene issues. Meanwhile, the CFIA says the plant failed to maintain or update it's E. coli plan.

  • October 5

    Five new E. coli cases are linked to the tainted meat. Recall expands again.

  • October 8

    The beef recall, the largest in Canadian history, got much bigger with meats being pulled off shelves in Hong Kong.

  • October 9

    Federal inspectors begin a detailed assessment of the Brooks XL Foods Plant. The investigation would last weeks.

  • October 10

    This little baby starts making its rounds... Meanwhile, the union at the plant said it was a case of greed over health that led to the massive recall and claim the plant is nowhere near safe.

  • October 11

    A partial reopening of the plant is considered and Alberta Premier Alison Redford rejects calls for a provincial inquiry into the recall.

  • October 12

    The U.S. announces it will audit the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, as Quebec E. coli cases are linked to the Alberta plant and new E. coli cases are confirmed in B.C.

  • October 13

    2,000 workers at the XL Foods plant in Brooks are temporarily laid off.

  • October 14

    800 of the 2,000 workers temporarily laid off the day before are recalled so that CFIA can continue its investigation in the plant.

  • October 17

    JBS USA announce they're taking over the management of the plant and reserve the option to purchase XL Foods. Earlier that day, workers at the plant were laid off again, as the recall of beef products expands yet again.

  • October 17

    Also on the 17th, B.C. residents announce their intent to sue XL Foods over E. coli-tainted meat, as Brooks declares itself in a state of crisis due to the thousands of workers, many of them of foreign origin and of modest means, are left without income and in need of services.

  • October 17

    JBS USA announces it intends to work with the union and the community to fix the conditions in the plant that led to the massive beef recalls.

  • October 19

    The CFIA announces that some of the meat stored in warehouses after the recalls may end up on your dinner table once the recalls end. Meanwhile, remaining carcasses at the plant test negative for E. coli.

  • October 21

    Tons of meant from the XL Foods plant is tossed into Alberta landfills.

  • October 22

    Former XL Foods manager says CFIA inspectors require better training. Later that afternoon, it is announced that all workers would return to the plant on Oct. 29 for further training and to partially reopen the beleaguered plant.

  • October 25

    JBS CEO Bill Rupp addressed the Brooks plant, the community and the media and vowed that safety at the plant would be the number one priority, adding the culture at the plant would change for the better.

  • October 29

    Production at the XL Foods plant in Brooks resumes for the first time since E. Coli tainted meat from the plant resulted in the largest Canadian beef recall in history.

  • October 30

    R-CALF, a U.S. ranchers lobby group, asks U.S. courts to block the possible sale of the Brools XL Foods plant to JBS USA, which is at the time managing the plant but which has reserved the option to buy the Alberta facility, as well as some U.S. plants. (Getty)

  • Nov. 1

    Another case of E. coli is linked to the XL Foods Inc. plant in Alberta. The Public Health Agency of Canada says the case was in Quebec, bringing the total number of confirmed cases across the country to 17.

  • Nov. 4

    The Canadian Food Inspection Agency discloses that its staff observed a number of problems at XL Foods the previous week, as the plant worked to get back to normal operations. They included meat areas that weren't adequately cleaned and water sanitizer that wasn't maintained at a high enough temperature.

  • Nov. 14

    The total number of e-coli cases across the country linked to the XL Foods Brooks plant climbs to 18. The Public Health Agency of Canada said the new case is in Alberta.


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  • Campylobacter Enteritis

    A common bacterial infection producing severe gastrointestinal upset that can hang around as long as two weeks. It's rarely fatal in healthy people. <strong>The culprits: </strong>Improperly slaughtered or processed meat not thoroughly cooked, contaminated vegetables, milk or water. Pets can also shed the bacteria through their "business." <strong>What it feels like: </strong>You'd pay closer attention to the flulike symptoms (fever, aches and pains) if you weren't running to the bathroom every 15 minutes of your life. <strong>Maybe you shouldn't have: </strong>Plucked that mass-processed pack of pork chops out of the "manager's special" bin. Also, if you really need to be told, leave seagulls alone. They're neither friendly nor tasty and are known to harbor higher concentrations of the bacteria. Common sense and decent kitchen cleanliness should protect you from needless downfall. <strong>Related: <a href="http://www.foodrepublic.com/2011/08/31/are-these-5-foods-trying-kill-you?utm_source=huffingtonpost.com&utm_medium=partner&utm_campaign=food-poisoning" target="_hplink">Are These 5 Foods Trying To Kill You?</a></strong> <em>Photo via Flickr user <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/stuartwebster/5829527553/" target="_hplink">StuartWebster</a></em>

  • Cholera

    Contrary to what literature might have you believe, there will be no love in the time of cholera, only misery, woe and lots of diarrhea. <strong>The culprits:</strong> Contaminated water and eating raw or undercooked seafood that was hanging out in that water. <strong>What it feels like:</strong> Being slowly dried in a dehydrator that looks surprisingly like your bathroom while your abdomen is squeezed by a giant godlike fist. You might just want to set up shop in there for a spell, the toxin in the cholera bacteria causes any water in your body to "release." Replenish as you might, it likely won't stay in there very long. Keep at it diligently, though, and you'll be fine in about a week. <strong>Maybe you shouldn't have:</strong> Splashed around in a stagnant portion of the Meekong Delta for so long, or eaten those Mexican oysters with quite as much gusto. <em>Photo via Flickr user <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/philosophygeek/3964899327/" target="_hplink">philosophygeek</a></em>

  • E. Coli Enteritis

    The black sheep of the food poisoning world, E. coli's the one with a strain that'll actually kill you regardless of treatment attempts. How subversive. <strong>The culprits</strong>: Escherichia coli, or E. for short, has one incredibly powerful strain: O157:H7, although other related strains can cause infection as well. This bacterium is found in mass-processed ground beef and on vegetables that were improperly cleaned or handled by contaminated fingers. <strong>What it feels like:</strong> You've been stabbed in the colon, which would explain the crippling cramps and other things that might happen if one were actually stabbed in the colon, including blood. Not that there's a "better" food poisoning to get, but this is one you really want to avoid. <strong>Maybe you shouldn't have:</strong> Eaten that rare burger of questionable origin while chugging raw milk in that crazy crowded public pool, all of which have been known to harbor the bacteria. <strong>Related: <a href="http://www.foodrepublic.com/2011/06/06/update-new-e-coli-culprit-europe?utm_source=huffingtonpost.com&utm_medium=partner&utm_campaign=food-poisoning" target="_hplink">Update: New E. Coli Culprit In Europe</a></strong> <em>Photo via Flickr user <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/khawkins04/5969315133/" target="_hplink">khawkins04</a></em>

  • Ciguatera (Fish Poisoning)

    An incurable disease caused by eating fish contaminated by coral algae toxins. A real doozy, with an estimated 50,000 cases each year. <strong>The culprits:</strong> Ciguatera is limited to fish of tropical origin. It's impossible to detect by seafood processors, and can't be killed by cooking or freezing. Live in fear of grouper, or continue on with your life with relatively minimal risk. <strong>What it feels like:</strong> At first, typical food poisoning symptoms may present, but the bigger problem with ciguatera is its severe and often irreversible neurological effects. These can include trouble sensing hot or cold, tingling "phantom limb" pain in the extremities and other symptoms that may be confused with anything from multiple sclerosis to heart failure. <strong>Maybe you shouldn't have: </strong>Hit that fried "mystery tropical fish" eating contest at that Margaritaville in that tropical location with your buddies. To minimize your risk of catching this seriously unfun bug, make sure you know what your fish is and if possible, where it came from. Larger fish from shallower waters in a tropical environment are your worst bet. <strong>Related: <a href="http://www.foodrepublic.com/2012/04/06/trouble-brewing-fda-and-sushi?utm_source=huffingtonpost.com&utm_medium=partner&utm_campaign=food-poisoning" target="_hplink">Trouble Brewing For The FDA. And, Sushi.</a> </strong> <em>Photo via Flickr user <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/alonsoinostrosa/4055075930/" target="_hplink">alonso_inostrosa</a></em>

  • Listeria

    The range of listeria infection, or listeriosis, lands you somewhere between asymptomatic and dead and can occur from eating or drinking basically anything that was grown, raised or milked. <strong>The culprits:</strong> Raw or improperly pasteurized dairy products, vegetables grown in contaminated soil (yup, it can live in soil), preserved and smoked meats (can be identified by a slippery or slimy film), canned and raw seafood and fresh fruit. <strong>What it feels like:</strong> A bad flu, although more serious complications like meningitis can occur in people with weakened immune systems, as well as in young children, pregnant women and the elderly. <strong>Maybe you shouldn't have:</strong> Eaten all those root vegetables straight from the ground without washing them right after milking your cow. I mean a hippie farmer's life is great, unless your land is rife with listeria. <em>Photo via Flickr user <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/9229859@N02/2575380447/" target="_hplink">bucklava</a></em>

  • Staphylococcus

    This is the picnic food poisoning everyone warns you about, especially you, dude who brought the mayo-choked potato salad (<a href="http://www.foodrepublic.com/2012/02/10/potato-salad-horseradish-recipe ?utm_source=huffingtonpost.com&utm_medium=partner&utm_campaign=food-poisoning" target="_hplink">try this one instead</a>). <strong>The culprits:</strong> The bacteria releases its toxins at the comfy incubator that is room temperature food, which gives staph food poisoning its signature cookout-ruining reputation. The worst part? Reheating contaminated food won't kill it off. Actually the worst part is the symptoms. <strong>What it feels like:</strong> Explosive, and not in a romantic feelings kind of way. Within an hour of ingesting contaminated food, both ends will be entirely occupied for up to a day. The good news is, once it's out, it's out and you can get right back to the picnic. Oh wait, it's over. <strong>Maybe you shouldn't have:</strong> Microwaved that leftover potato salad thinking no bug could possibly survive the ordeal. <em>Photo via Flickr user <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/stuart_spivack/274140418/" target="_hplink">stu_spivack</a></em>

  • Salmonella

    The bacteria that causes salmonellosis, or salmonella poisoning, has a serious reputation among poultry and their handlers, and BOY does it love hanging out on the stretches of counter you missed with the sanitizer. <strong>The culprits:</strong> Although eggs, processed chicken parts and other raw meat are particularly good at spreading the bacteria, pet reptiles and rodents are also carriers. Wash everything any dead or live animal comes in contact with and maybe don't allow live animals in the kitchen while you're cooking, period. <strong>What it feels like:</strong> Your small intestine betraying you entirely. Expect a week or so of your typical diarrhea, abdominal cramps and possibly a fever. <strong>Maybe you shouldn't have:</strong> Attempted your own Japanese-style chicken breast sashimi or let Shelly the turtle roam around willy-nilly on the cutting board. Especially before slicing said chicken sashimi. <em>Photo via Flickr user <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/vseehua/518875309/" target="_hplink">Casper Jen</a></em>

  • Shigellosis

    Similar to salmonella but yet so very different is shigella, which attacks the large intestine rather than the small. <strong>The culprit: </strong>You're going to love this -- human waste. While plenty of food-borne illness can be spread this way, particularly by catching a ride in food or water, many cases of shigellosis can be directly attributed to contact with... well, you know. It can also be resistant to antibiotics, so definitely practice safe sewage-wading. <strong>What it feels like: </strong>Salmonella, only with more blood. <strong>Maybe you shouldn't have:</strong> Taken on that blackout drunken dare to see what's really under that manhole by the creek, then gone straight to In-N Out. Just maybe. We live in a developed nation, you almost have to try to get this one. It's Darwinism, people. <em>Photo via Flickr user <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/nathanreading/6141237661/" target="_hplink">Nathan Reading</a></em>