Tuesday, October 11, 2011


I am always surprised by the number of people who believe that if a food item is "organic" it will not carry any bad bacteria. Yes, organic fruits or vegetables are likely to have lower levels of pesticides. But that does not protect them from those dangerous bacteria that we hear so much about these days - ones such as E.coli 0157, Salmonella, Listeria monocytogenes and others. In fact, much of the research done suggests that they are even more likely to be contaminated than are conventionally grown foods.

The Rocky Ford cantaloupes that are causing the current outbreak of Listeriosis (from Listeria monocytogenes bacteria) were "pesticide free." (They have now caused at least 22 deaths and over 100 illnesses). The recently recalled grape tomatoes were organic.

Over the past few years we have had recalls of a huge range of organic foods because they were contaminated - including organic alfalfa sprouts, many organic fruits and vegetables, organic beef, organic turkey, organic peanut butter, organic eggs, organic cheese and even of organic chocolate and tea. (What have I missed?)

In fact, sad though it be, several recent studies, including one published this past May in the Journal of Food Protection, have concluded that organic food is more likely to have fecal contamination which is where these bacteria usually come from. The higher incidences of fecal contamination in organic foods is linked to the heavy reliance of composted animal manure for fertilizer. The book discusses this issue in more detail.

To your good health,

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