[permaculture] Spinach, Feedlots and Knowing the Backstory

Keith Johnson keithdj at mindspring.com
Tue Sep 26 00:13:44 EDT 2006


*Spinach, Feedlots and Knowing the Backstory | Alex Steffen*


        To Know It for the First Time -- Place, Environment and Ecology
        <http://www.worldchanging.com/search/?category=12&search=Go>

The media is buzzing over the spinach crisis, caused by an outbreak of 
the potentially lethal bacterium E. coli O157:H7. A curious yet 
widespread claim is that, because some of the spinach so far identified 
as contaminated came from organic farms, organic farming is unsafe. It's 
a curious claim, because scientists understand pretty well where the 
O157:H7 is coming from: the bellies of factory-farmed cows. Their 
manure, as it turns out, is now crawling with the critters. As this NYT 
op-ed puts it:

    /Where does this particularly virulent strain come from? It's not
    found in the intestinal tracts of cattle raised on their natural
    diet of grass, hay and other fibrous forage. No, O157 thrives in a
    new --- that is, recent in the history of animal diets ---
    biological niche: the unnaturally acidic stomachs of beef and dairy
    cattle fed on grain, the typical ration on most industrial farms.
    It's the infected manure from these grain-fed cattle that
    contaminates the groundwater and spreads the bacteria to produce,
    like spinach, growing on neighboring farms./

More......                    
http://www.worldchanging.com/archives/004972.html

-- 
Keith Johnson
Permaculture Activist Magazine
PO Box 5516
Bloomington, IN 47408
(812) 335-0383
http://www.permacultureactivist.net
also Patterns for Abundance Design & Consulting

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