Home gardeners 'disconnected' from sources of foodborne illness
Posted: March 16th, 2008 - 10:29am by Doug PowellI love our garden. It's a decent size, with lots of berries, beans, tomatoes and greens.
With spring just around the corner, I've started some seeds (right, interspersed amongst the French literature books that Amy is fond of) and started working the soil.
It's also time for a new crop of stories about how local food is safer, better and just all around morally superior. Like the Arizona Republic last week, which stated,
"An increasing number of consumers hit hard by escalating food costs are, planting backyard gardens to save grocery dollars while protecting the environment against pollutants and themselves against tainted food."
Architects Miro Chun and Bryan White of Phoenix were cited as saying the garden provides a plentiful supply of organic produce, fits in well with their commitment to eat as locally as possible and gives them peace of mind when food-safety scares erupt, with Chun quoted as saying, "We were glad we could pick spinach out of our garden when spinach was making people ill."
Maybe. Depends on what was in the soil. From the backyard to a farmer's field, the basics are the same, especially with fresh produce that is not going to be cooked: know the source of water, know what is being added to the soil, and wash your damn hands.
Researchers from the northeast U.S. reported in the Feb. 2008 Food Protection Trends that based on interviews with 94 home gardeners of fruits and vegetables that,
"Home gardeners, although they acknowledged that they could get sick from consuming produce, did not seem to be aware that contamination could come from a variety of sources such as soil, compost, fresh manure and/or the water supply. Results indicated that there was a 'disconnect,' or lack of understanding, of the sources and mechanisms of pathogenic bacterial contamination as related to its homegrown produce."
This is common. Think like a microorganism and most problems can be predicted and prevented. Be the bug.