E. coli is a bacteria that lives in the intestines of humans, cattle and other animals. Not all types of E. coli cause food-related illness. The Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) are responsible for the majority of very serious, food-related E. coli infections that impact the foodservice environment. E. coli can cause severe damage to the lining of the intestine, kidney failure and death. Undercooked meat and fresh produce are the most likely sources of contamination.