Thursday, June 17, 2004


What fun!

"A new study on food safety reveals that organic produce may contain a significantly higher risk of fecal contamination than conventionally grown produce. A recent comparative analysis of organic produce versus conventional produce from the University of Minnesota shows that the organically grown produce had 9.7 percent positive samples for the presence of generic E. coli bacteria versus only 1.6 percent for conventional produce on farms in Minnesota.

The study, which was published in May in the Journal of Food Protection, concluded, "the observation that the prevalence of E. coli was significantly higher in organic produce supports the idea that organic produce is more susceptible to fecal contamination." In addition, the study found the food-borne disease pathogen salmonella only on the organic produce samples. There was no evidence found of the deadly strain of bacteria, E. coli O157:H7, in either type of produce tested. The study looked at fruits and vegetables at the "preharvest" stage, not at the retail store level.

The principal investigator of the University of Minnesota study, Francisco Diez-Gonzalez, told that "organic agriculture was more susceptible to carry fecal indicators." .. "In many ways it is confirming what is believed, indeed, if you are using animal manure for fertilizer, the chances that you are going to get fecal bacteria on the product are greater," Diez-Gonzalez said. The higher incidences of fecal contamination in organic foods were linked to heavy reliance on composted animal manure for fertilizer. While conventionally grown produce may use some manure, it chiefly relies on chemical fertilizers. Past research has shown that Animal manure is the principal source of pathogens such as salmonella, campylobacter, and E. coli"

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