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Grow Your Own, Nevada! Summer 2013: Reducing Food Safety Risks in School and Community Gardens
 

Grow Your Own, Nevada! Summer 2013: Reducing Food Safety Risks in School and Community Gardens

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  • And this week’s report from the CDC provided further evidence that my home garden is the safest source of food for my family. This report examines the links between food commodities and foodborne illness, identifying fresh produce as the most frequent offender… a whopping 46% of all cases! For historical perspective, fresh produce was linked to less than 1% of all foodborne illness in the 1970s, and less than 12% in the 1990s. Why is foodborne illness from produce on the rise?
  • Soil survival of Escherichia coli O157:H7 acquired by a child from garden soil recently fertilized with cattle manureKeywords:bacterial survival;cattle;contamination;enterohaemorrhagic;environmental manure;foodborne pathogenAbstractAims:  This investigation was conducted to determine the survival of a naturally occurring Escherichia coli O157:H7 in garden soil linked to a sporadic case of E. coli O157 infection in Minnesota.Methods and Results:  The presence and viability of E. coli O157:H7 was monitored in manure-contaminated garden soil for several weeks. Bacterial isolates were characterized using PCR and pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE). Isolates obtained from the patient and the garden plots during this investigation had indistinguishable PFGE patterns and had the same virulence factors (stx1, stx2, eaeA, ehxA). The E. coli O157:H7 levels obtained from the garden plots declined gradually for a period of 2 months, and on day 69 only one garden plot of four had detectable levels of pathogen. All plots were negative on day 92. The rate of decline in the soil samples stored at 4°C was faster compared with soil samples that remained in ambient conditions, and in refrigerated storage E. coli O157:H7 could not be detected after 10 days.Conclusions: E. coli O157:H7 strains can survive on manure-amended soil for more than 2 months, and this survival could be reduced by low temperature.Significance and Impact of the Study:  This is one of the few reports that have investigated the survival of a proven virulent strain in naturally contaminated soil samples. This case stresses the importance of avoiding the use of raw cattle manure to amend soil for cultivation of foods, including soils in residential garden plots.
  • Although it’s a good idea to do it, it’s no guarantee.
  • The way in which you wash your produce may even put you at greater risk of contracting a foodborne illness. Take a sun-warmed tomato from your garden and plunge it under cold running water, and the gases within the tomato tissues contract, creating hydrostatic pressure that pulls in microorganisms. Improper wash-water temperatures have been responsible for numerous outbreaks, including Salmonella in mangoes and tomatoes. Experts recommend that rinse water be as close to the temperature of produce as possible (within 10 degrees Fahrenheit).
  • What are the rules for manure use in non-certified organic or conventional farms? With regards to ensuring food safety, none. Although many states mandate that farmers have a Nutrient Management Plan (to prevent nutrient runoff and subsequent pollution of streams), there are currently no restrictions on timing of raw manure applications for conventional farms. In fact, many conventional farmers lease their land to factory farms for manure disposal. Concentrated animal farm operations (CAFOs) produce well over 1 billiontons of manure each year – it has to go somewhere, and many conventional farms gladly allow the raw manure to be spread on their fields, both for the free fertilizer and the additional money.
  • In fact, many conventional farmers lease their land to factory farms for manure disposal. Concentrated animal farm operations (CAFOs) produce well over 1 billiontons of manure each year – it has to go somewhere, and many conventional farms gladly allow the raw manure to be spread on their fields, both for the free fertilizer and the additional money.
  • Do not use manure from carnivores
  • Why is it important to properly cool vegetables, wash them, and dry them well before storing in your refrigerator? Unlike most human pathogens, soil-inhabiting Listeria can grow in the cold temperatures of a refrigerator, especially under moist conditions (albeit more slowly than on your countertop).
  • Site history:Flood-prone?Animals?Chemical contamination?Heavy metals?Polluted run-off?

Grow Your Own, Nevada! Summer 2013: Reducing Food Safety Risks in School and Community Gardens Grow Your Own, Nevada! Summer 2013: Reducing Food Safety Risks in School and Community Gardens Presentation Transcript