E. coli is in the news again. And judging from news reports, it
appears to be E. coli 0157:H7. This time bagged spinach is blamed as
I wonder how many people realize that any Escherichia coli (E. coli)
bacteria found on vegetables have come from feces – for example, from
raw or liquid manure used as fertilizer, contaminated water from animal
agriculture, feces-contaminated flesh, or from an infected person who
did not wash their hands properly.
The gloved hands of food service people can still cross-contaminate;
we’ve watched them touch raw meat, or equipment and utensils that were
used with meat, and then touch vegetables without changing gloves. We’ve
come to the conclusion that the only things the gloves of food service
people protect are their own hands.
We’ve even been to church kitchens where they were defrosting frozen
turkeys on vegetable cutting boards. It’s obvious what can happen when a
kitchen worker cutting raw flesh uses the same unwashed knife to cut raw
vegetables. Even vegans need to be very cautious because plant foods can
become contaminated when exposed to infected animal foods and unsanitary
conditions in supermarkets, restaurants, and even homes where animal
food products are present.
If animal feces are used as a fertilizer, there is always the
potential for E. coli 0157:H7 contamination of the fruits and vegetables
that come in contact with the soil, even on organic farms. We believe
the safest form of gardening is veganic (without animal fertilizer).
Any food that is contaminated with E. coli 0157:H7 has also been
contaminated with feces.
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