Select Page

In Person: Susan Bach battles E. coli on leafy greens

In Person: Susan Bach battles E. coli on leafy greens

susan-bach-pacific-agri-food-research-centre-summerland

Wheeling her Honda Shadow out of the garage of her Peachland home, Susan Bach says, “Riding a motorcycle gives you a whole other perspective on your surroundings. You experience the sights, smells and sounds so differently.”

A close connection to her natural surroundings is important to Susan who grew up in the farming community of Fisher Branch in the north Interlake area of Manitoba.

“I spent a lot of my childhood outside and after high school, I worked for several years at Hecla Island Provincial Park,” she says.

susan-bach-therapy-dog-JakeAlmost every day in the warmer months, Susan is on the trails around Peachland hiking with her golden retriever, Jake, a certified St. John Ambulance therapy dog. Although she can’t take him motorcycling, he does go for a car ride every Saturday morning to the Village at Smith Creek in West Kelowna where he visits residents in assisted living.

“Jake makes them happy. They even buy special treats for him.” She recalls one elderly gentleman who would give the dog pieces of his peanut butter sandwich. “Jake would jump in bed with him and snuggle.”

When she’s not riding or partnering Jake, Susan, who holds a PhD in food microbiology and animal science from the University of Manitoba, works as a research scientist at the Pacific Agri-Food Research Centre in Summerland. Her research focuses on the persistence and prevalence of E. coli O157 on leafy greens like lettuce and spinach. “The results will help determine what areas to target for control,” she says.

E. coli is commonly found in cattle and other livestock. In humans, it causes the well-known symptoms of food poisoning. Common means of infection include direct contact with animals, drinking untreated water and eating improperly cooked contaminated meat and unpasteurized milk and milk products. The bacteria can also be introduced to leafy greens at any point from field to plate by workers with contaminated hands, Susan explains.

“A growing number of human infections are related to the increased popularity of processed packaged fresh greens. At home I wash leafy greens well, use different cutting boards for vegetables and meat, and cook ground beef thoroughly,” says Susan, who enjoys spending time in her kitchen.

She has a special interest in learning to prepare international food, a spin-off from her frequent work-related trips around the globe. She often gathers with friends to prepare new recipes, but she doesn’t neglect traditional family favourites. “I make my mother and grandmother’s recipes for cabbage rolls and perogies from scratch,” she says.

Looking forward, Susan wants to continue riding her motorcycle to work, hiking with Jake and travelling. She’s also training for a half marathon.

Related Post

About The Author

Editor

Okanagan Life captures the essence of life in the Okanagan Valley with informative and entertaining features on issues that matter to people who live or vacation in this great region, plus regular stories on Okanagan destinations, personalities, wine, food, history, outdoor recreation and more. We're now in our 26th year. Subscribe

Current Issue

Upcoming Events

Sep
21
Thu
9:00 pm Folk music tour: Ellen Froese & ... @ Barley Station brew Pub
Folk music tour: Ellen Froese & ... @ Barley Station brew Pub
Sep 21 @ 9:00 pm
Folk music tour: Ellen Froese & Derek Curtis @ Barley Station brew Pub | Salmon Arm | British Columbia | Canada
Coming together over the Canadian Border, Ellen Froese and Derek Curtis will be touring across Western Canada and playing their folk music from Saskatchewan through British Columbia. With Ellen hailing from Saskatoon and Derek from[...]
Sep
23
Sat
9:00 pm Folk music tour: Ellen Froese & ... @ The Grateful Fed
Folk music tour: Ellen Froese & ... @ The Grateful Fed
Sep 23 @ 9:00 pm
Folk music tour: Ellen Froese & Derek Curtis @ The Grateful Fed | Kelowna | British Columbia | Canada
Coming together over the Canadian Border, Ellen Froese and Derek Curtis will be touring across Western Canada and playing their folk music from Saskatchewan through British Columbia. With Ellen hailing from Saskatoon and Derek from[...]
Oct
17
Tue
7:30 pm Burton Cummings @ Kelowna’s Community Theatre
Burton Cummings @ Kelowna’s Community Theatre
Oct 17 @ 7:30 pm
Burton Cummings @ Kelowna’s Community Theatre | Kelowna | British Columbia | Canada
Canadian music icon to perform in Kelowna in October Burton Cummings, one of the most celebrated rock artists in Canadian music history, will perform at Kelowna’s Community Theatre at 7;30 p.m. on Tuesday October 17[...]

TWITTER

Error: Please enter a valid email address

Error: Invalid email

Error: Please enter your first name

Error: Please enter your last name

Error: Please enter a username

Error: Please enter a password

Error: Please confirm your password

Error: Password and password confirmation do not match