This is not in defensive of highly industrialized organic farming…but to share some thoughts about the way we produce, trade and eat food…as this is going to be our future as well….
E.Coli is a bacteria commonly found in the lower intestine of warm-blooded organisms including human beings. Most E. coli strains are harmless, but some serotypes can cause serious food poisoning in humans and are occasionally responsible for product recalls particularly processed foods. therefore it is more to do with process of clean production, processing, storing and cooking. since it lives in the gut of animals…E. coli cells are a major component of feces, and fecal-oral transmission is the major route through which pathogenic strains of the bacterium cause disease apart from spoilage of processed foods. Cells are able to survive outside the body for a limited amount of time, which makes them ideal indicator organisms to test environmental samples for fecal contamination.
As organic farming uses dung and dung based products extensively…its linked to that. Most of the cases of E.coli poisoning is for products which are stored for a long time…in a unhygenic conditions…however off late when there is growing markets for organic…and long food miles do carry all the evils.
Authorities first cited contaminated Spanish cucumbers as the culprit and now organically grown sprouts from Germany are being seen as the most likely cause. The source of the infection still remains a mystery. Experts believe organic sprouts, cucumbers, tomatoes or lettuce contaminated somewhere between farm and fork have caused the disease.
Scientists say the outbreak has been caused by a rare toxic mutant of E coli that causes abdominal cramps and bloody diarrhoea. In severe cases, it leads to acute kidney failure and even seizure, coma and death. Germany, where the outbreak originated, has reported 722 cases of kidney failure, including 18 fatalities, says WHO.
The European Centre for Disease Control and Prevention says the E coli outbreak is one of the largest worldwide and the largest ever reported in Germany. Most of the victims were women and it is not known why.
Dr Helge Karch, of University Hospital Munster in Germany, who identified the bacterial strain behind the outbreak, says it is a hybrid clone that contains genetic material from various bacteria. Karch says the strain shows very high antibiotic resistance and is more toxic than its parent.
The findings raises questions about methods used in organic farming.
Organic foods are by definition fertilized with animal manure and that’s where E coli exist. ECDC says these bacteria are found in the lower intestine of mammals. This leads experts to believe that the German outbreak most likely occurred due to contamination through manure in organic farms, from a sewage leak in the irrigation supply or from a worker handling the produce.
If cattle manure is used as fertilizer, it is entirely possible that vegetables could be contaminated with fecal matter, Dr Jonathan Fletcher, lecturer of microbiology at the University of Bradford in UK, told TOI. There should have been stringent washing procedures to remove this, and consumers or restaurant owners should also have been advised to wash the vegetables before eating, he said.
Even in the past, several studies have found higher levels of E coli on organic vegetables compared to others. In 2006, a large E coli outbreak was linked to an organic spinach farm in California. Around 205 people were infected and three died due to the illness. WHO says the main advice is to wash one’s hands after using the toilet and before consuming food; and to wash food thoroughly with clean water, especially if it is consumed raw. Peeling or cooking fruit and vegetables can also remove these germs, says Fletcher.
GenØk-Centre for Biosafety is a designated National Competence Centre for Biosafety in Norway. We are pleased to inform you that GenØk’s assessments of technical dossiers for various transgenic events are available at http://www.genok.com/reports. These assessments may be of interest to other countries.
A new report by Earth Open Resources highlights the problems with the Herbicide Glyphosate.
similarly some time back there was another research article which clearly showed similar problems
Glyphosate-Based Herbicides Produce Teratogenic Effects onVertebrates by Impairing Retinoic Acid SignalingAlejandra Paganelli, Victoria Gnazzo, Helena Acosta, Silvia L. Lo´ pez, andAndre´s E. Carrasco
PLANT SOIL ENVIRON., 57, 2011 (2): 67–74 67
Z.H. Chen, L.J. Chen, Y.L. Zhang, Z.J. Wu
Institute of Applied Ecology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shenyang, P.R. China
One Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) and two stacked Bt and cowpea trypsin inhibitor (Bt + CpTI) cottons and their non-transgenic isolines were consecutively cultivated to investigate the soil persistence of Cry1Ac and CpTI proteins and their effects on microbial properties and enzyme activities involving C, N, P, and S cycling in soil. Results showed that there were the persistence of Cry1Ac and CpTI proteins in soil under 4-year consecutive cultivation of transgenic cottons. Cry1Ac proteins varied from 6.75 ng/g to 12.01 ng/g and CpTI proteins varied from 30.65 to 43.60 ng/g. However, neither of these two proteins was detected in soil under non-transgenic cottons. Soil microbial biomass carbon, microbial activities, and soil enzyme activities (except urease and phosphodiesterase) significantly decreased in soil under transgenic cottons. Correlation analysis showed that most of microbial properties and enzyme activities in soil had a negative relationship with Cry1Ac content, while most of them had a positive relationship with CpTI content. Our data indicate that consecutive cultivation by genetically modified cottons with Bt and CpTI genes can result in persistence of Cry1Ac and CpTI proteins and negatively affect soil microbial and biochemical properties.
36 363–376] DOI 10.1007/s12038-011-9074-5 [Rawat P, Singh AK, Ray K, Chaudhary B, Kumar S, Gautam T, Kanoria S, Kaur G, Kumar P, Pental D and Burma PK 2011 Detrimental effect of expression of Bt endotoxin Cry1Ac on in vitro regeneration, in vivo growth and development of tobacco and cotton transgenics. J. Biosci].