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

Jul
21
Fri
all-day See Spiderman in 3D at Grand 10 @ Grand 10 Kelowna
See Spiderman in 3D at Grand 10 @ Grand 10 Kelowna
Jul 21 – Jul 27 all-day
See Spiderman in 3D at Grand 10 @ Grand 10 Kelowna | Kelowna | British Columbia | Canada
THE BIG SICK Daily at 12:45, 3:25, 6:45 & 9:25, 14A: Coarse Language DUNKIRK Daily at 12:40, 1:15, 3:10, 3:45, 6:40, 7:15, 9:10 & 9:45, PG: Violence & Coarse Language DESPICABLE ME 3 (2D) Fri[...]

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