Organic farming can reduce E. Coli contamination

According to a new study, organic farming could reduce the spread of foodborne pathogens thanks to the greater biodiversity of organic soil, particularly the presence of soil microbes and insects.

The study, which was published in the Journal of Applied Ecology, found that farmers seeking to reduce the spread of E. are vital for the eradication of soil pathogens disappear at the same time.

“Wildlife and livestock are often seen as something that puts food security at risk, but our research shows that reducing on-farm biodiversity could be totally counterproductive,” said Matthew Jones, who led the research as part of his doctoral project at Washington State University. A press release.

“Nature has a ‘cleanup team’ of dung beetles and bacteria that quickly remove the droppings and the pathogens they contain, it seems. It might therefore be better to encourage these beneficial insects and microbes.

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From organic authority files

The research was conducted by spreading pig droppings over 70 conventional and organic broccoli fields in the western United States. On organic farms, dung beetles cleaned up 90% of faeces in just a few days, while on conventional farms, eradication of faeces and associated bacteria took much longer.

Laboratory tests have confirmed both the presence of more organic matter and less E. coli bacteria on organic farms.

“Bacteria are known to poison and fight each other and the same can happen here,” said Professor William Snyder of Washington State University.

Broccoli fields were chosen for this experiment due to the proximity of broccoli to the soil during its growth and therefore its increased susceptibility to contamination. Broccoli ranked #35 on EWG’s Dirty Dozen list this year. The list identifies conventional products that may be contaminated with pesticide residues.

E. coli causes approximately 93,000 illnesses in the United States each year; an estimated 2,138 hospitalizations and 20 deaths per year are caused by the bacteria.

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