Saturday, September 16, 2006

Spinach from our CSA

Here's a message from Peter Seely, who owns Springdale Farms, our CSA.

Eat slow and local!

Greetings folks,

A few have asked us to comment on the recent outbreak of e-coli found in bagged spinach.

We cannot claim with 100% certainty that our produce is free from e-coli, (or any other potential toxin, for that matter). We never test our produce for those items (though I'd be very interested if someone were willing to pay to have those tests done). We also do not have enough knowledge of the e-coli virus to know exactly under what conditions it is most prevalent, and how it is spread, etc.

We do believe that our agricultural practices are much less likely to result in outbreaks like the current one as compared to the conventional practices, but more details than that are more than we can offer with any certitude.

We certainly will not hesitate at all before eating what we produce here on our farm, and are not worried about this particular outbreak. But we would like to keep abreast of information, as it comes available, as to how best to minimize the chances of introducing something toxic like e-coli into our vegetables, and would welcome additional comments, and references, if any of you come across information that you feel may be good for us to know about!


1 comment:

Melanie said...

E. coli is the result of fecal contamination. Since E. coli is present in all mammalian intestines, if you use fertilizer containing animal waste, you will introduce E. coli. If you have animals roaming around in your gardens, you will likely have E. coli in your garden. For the vast majority of the time, we live happily and healthily with our E. coli, indeed not having E. coli inside you is unhealthy. Occasionally, E. coli will pick up a gene that causes it to make a particularly nasty toxin. Combined with the fact that you do not need much of a dose (MAY be as low as 10 organisms for high risk people) of this very bad E. coli O157, you will have an outbreak (like we just experienced). We tested the bagged, organic spinach that we happened to have in our refrigerator when the warning went out and even though we found plenty of bacteria, we did not find any E. coli. Note that even when you get "triple washed" produce (as was our spinach), they recommend rinsing before consuming. If E. coli O157 is present, just rinsing triple washed produce is very risky.