E-Coli: 90% sprout contamination is conventional, not organic

excerpt from Cornucopia’s News Advisory, June 6 2011

Regardless of which food turns out to have been contaminated with deadly E. coli, it is important to remember that the underlying cause of new, highly toxic strains of foodborne pathogens seems to be the relatively new practice of raising beef and dairy cattle in highly concentrated factory farm conditions, instead of on pasture.

Beef and dairy cows, which are ruminants, evolved to eat grass, not the high-grain rations that they are given in feedlots, which changes the pH in their rumen and has been linked to the creation of new and more deadly E. coli pathogens. There is nothing inherently dangerous about raw spinach, raw cucumbers or raw sprouts, which are dangerous only when they are contaminated with manure from industrial-style factory farms.

Moreover, studies have shown that organic farms and organic foods are safer than conventional foods. Not only are they much less likely to be contaminated with chemical residues, pesticides, and fumigants, they are also not as likely to be contaminated with manure.

The practice of using manure as fertilizer is common on both conventional and organic farms, but only organic standards require strict management practices regarding its use. For example, organic farmers must compost manure (which kills deadly bacteria) if it is applied to land growing crops for human consumption – a practice that is not required on conventional farms.

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