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March 11, 2000


coli and Organic Food


AgBioView - http://www.agbioworld.org, http://agbioview.listbot.com/

Sewage sludge is not normally used on human food crops. Concerns
over pathogens and nutrient make up make it too much trouble to
use in intensive operations. All the sewage I know of is spread
on grass land for cattle. As a farmer I would not have a problem
with it for wheat, corn or any crop that is normally processed and
cooked but I would have a real big ethical problem on any thing
that might be eaten raw. Soil has a great capacity to adsorb
heavy metals. There are far less heavy metals in sludge than
the arsenic sprayed as insecticide and defoliant in the early part
of the century. They don't pose a problem in crops or livestock
raised on the ground.

As to feeding cattle fly ash, chicken manure, paper etc. I know
of no one actually doing it. Feeding live stock properly cooked
cats and dogs is no different from feeding cats and dogs properly
cooked beef. I don't think anyone in the USA is feeding meat
scraps of any kind to cattle. In the first place they are too expensive
and in the second we did lean something from the BSE problem
in GB and the EU.

Chicken manure can be used a protein in cattle feed but the
palatability is so low that it is unprofitable. That research was
funded by the chicken industry to try to find a acceptable use
for manure it failed. There is a lot less manure feed to farm
animals today than there was in the past. It used to be standard
practice to run hogs in the feed lot with cattle to eat the grain
that passed through the cow feed whole corn. Better grinding
and feed processing makes that impractical today. Parasite problems
make feeding manure a loosing proposition no matter the legality.

Cement kiln dust would be a good a source of calcium and ground
limestone, oyster shell and a number of other things. No feed lot
I know of would use it because of the dust that causes respiratory
problems in cattle.

Our food is the safest it has ever been. Can it be safer, you bet
it can and everybody is working on it pretty hard. We don't jump
in wily-nilly when the press perceives a problem. We recall the
food, isolate the problem and fix it as best we can. In the CDC
figure for e. coli:157 cases last year only one third were from
food and half of that 1/3 were from one organic farm that used
fertilizer on lettuce and the bulk of the rest of the food born cases
were from unpasturized apple juice. Half of the cases appeared to be cause
by hand to had contamination or of unknown reasons in
restaurants probably from employees not washing their hands. The
fact that only a small percentage could be trace to hamburger shows
that we have done a lot to clean up the meat packing system.

The people that raise and process the food are more concerned
about safe food than the Eco terrorist that using it to grab the lime
light and raise money for their own cause.


Gordon Couger gcouger@couger.com

Stillwater, OK www.couger.com/gcouger
405 624-2855 GMT -6:00

From: "Angelo Sacerdote"
> I must point out at this juncture that manure is used on both organic and
> conventional farms. Sewage sludge is widely used on conventional farms.
> The sludge, no doubt, has been treated to remove pathogens, yet it still
> loades with heavy metals and other contaminants. Another, particularly
> unsavory use for animal manure on conventional farms is the practice of
> feeding it directly to animals. There was an article in US News and World
> Report in 1997, which I have found reprinted on the following site
> http://www.nisbett.com/news/h-news15.htm which states that, not only is it
> legal to feed cows and pigs chicken manure, newsprint and cement kiln
> but also dead cats and dogs.
> Just a little food for thought on food safety. You can follow up on the
> FDA's website http://www.fda.gov/cvm/fda/mappgs/cvmsrch.html which says,
> "Recycled animal waste is a processed feed product for livestock derived
> from animal manure> or a mixture of > contain significant percentages of protein, fiber, and essential minerals
> and have been deliberately incorporated into animal diets for their
> properties for almost 40 years. Incorporation of this product into animal
> diets is a viable alternative to land application or land fill."
> Angelo Sacerdote
> Concerned Citizen