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Don't Believe the Hype: Organic food and E. coli
On Feb. 4th, 2000 the ABC programme 20/20 aired a story about the organic food industry. Reporter John Stosselís story alleged that organic food is dangerous for your health! This claim is based on a study by 20/20, linking the use of manure on crops to the presence of E. coli. Tests compared the presence of E. coli on organic and conventional spring mix and sprouts. Some of the organic produce had higher E. coli counts. However, the tests did not differentiate between pathogenic and non-pathogenic E. coli. There are about 100 strains of E. coli bacteria, some are beneficial and necessary for healthy digestion, while others are harmful. To date, there have been no official scientific tests showing that organic produce has a higher incidence of pathogenic E. coli than conventional produce. Both conventional and organic agriculture use manure for fertilization; certified organic famers, however, are strictly limited in how they can use manure. The manure must be properly heat composted first and detailed records are kept. Please be assured, choosing organic is one of the best things you can do for yourself and the planet! For more information on the organic industryís rebuttal to the 20/20 story, please check out the Organic Trade Associationís web site at www.ota.com.
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