Infection starts when you swallow tiny amounts of human or animal feces. Typically, the amount is so small as to be invisible. Where do these pieces of poop come from? You can get them from contaminated food. Raw produce, raw milk, soft cheese, and unpasteurized apple cider are among the foods to have been implicated in some outbreaks. You can also get E. coli from handling a dirty diaper or eating food prepared by someone who did not wash his/her hands properly.