Wednesday, May 05, 2004

Sounds like the untested cow was more than a fuckup:
"Everybody expected a test, and then the word came that there wasn't going to be any test," one source said. "I'm not sure why that decision was made, and I'm not going to speculate about the reasons for it. But I think what USDA is going to find is that the final decision was made up the food chain, and I think a lot of people will be interested in why that decision was made."
Update: Don't you trust them?
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said yesterday it had traced the rendered remains of a Texas cow that should have been tested last week for bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) and would make sure they are not fed to cattle.
Also, Mukherjee, et al., "Preharvest Evaluation of Coliforms, Escherichia coli, Salmonella, and Escherichia coli O157:H7 in Organic and Conventional Produce Grown by Minnesota Farmers," Journal of Food Protection 67/5, 894-900. Abstract:
Microbiological analyses of fresh fruits and vegetables produced by organic and conventional farmers in Minnesota were conducted to determine the coliform count and the prevalence of Escherichia coli, Salmonella, and E. coli O157:H7. A total of 476 and 129 produce samples were collected from 32 organic and 8 conventional farms, respectively. The samples included tomatoes, leafy greens, lettuce, green peppers, cabbage, cucumbers, broccoli, strawberries, apples, and seven other types of produce. The numbers of fruits and vegetables was influenced by their availability at participating farms and varied from 11 strawberry samples to 108 tomato samples. Among the organic farms, eight were certified by accredited agencies and the rest reported the use of organic practices. All organic farms used aged or composted animal manure as fertilizer. The average coliform counts in both organic and conventional produce were 2.9 log most probable number per g. The percentages of E. coli-positive samples in conventional and organic produce were 1.6 and 9.7%, respectively. However, the E. coli prevalence in certified organic produce was 4.3%, a level not statistically different from that in conventional samples. Organic lettuce had the largest prevalence of E. coli (22.4%) compared with other produce types. Organic samples from farms that used manure or compost aged less than 12 months had a prevalence of E. coli 19 times greater than that of farms that used older materials. Serotype O157:H7 was not detected in any produce samples, but Salmonella was isolated from one organic lettuce and one organic green pepper. These results provide the first microbiological assessment of organic fruits and vegetables at the farm level.

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