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August 7, 2000


alternative references to Averys data on organic food


Dear All

You will have heard a great deal about the supposed non existence of organic food contamination by E.coli
0157 from the organic community and how Avery was not telling the truth, etc.

Well the following are alternative scientific references in part by the CDC to Avery's compilation.

I think this should finish the matter if we can get the organic community to bother to look at the data.
However I do agree that there is no comparative data on the likelihood of contamination from organic or
conventional. It remains a strong suspicion that emphasis on animal manure by the organic community is
more likely to cause contamination but I think large amounts of data would be required to prove the point.
However the cases which do occur indicate that organic or natural food is not necessarily the pristine
product that organic supporters would like us to believe.


Centersfor Disease Control and Prevention. Outbreak of Escherichia coli 0157-H7. Infections
associated with drinking unpasteurised commercial apple juice, British Columbia, California, Colorado
and Washington. October 1996. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 1996: 45;975.
Centersfor Disease Control and Prevention. Outbreak of Escherichia coli 0157-H7. Infection and
cryptosporidiosis associated with drinking unpasteurised apple cider, Connecticut and New York.
October 1996. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 1997: 46; 4-8.
This one of earlier interest. Besser RE Lett SM Weber JT et al. An outbreak of diarrhea and hemolytic
uremic syndrome from Escherichia coli 0157-H7 in fresh pressed apple cider JAMA 1993. 269; 2217-
The following are on lettuce. I don't know whether any of these account for the 1996 statistics in the
Avery CDC list.
Davidson R. Proctor, P. Preston M et al.al Investigation of a lettuce born Escherichia coli 0157-H7
outbreak in a hospital. IN; Program and abstracts of the 36th Interscience conference on antimicrobial
agents and chemotherapy: September 15-18, 1996; New Orleans La. Abstract J106;238.
Ackers,M. Mahon B, Leahy E et al. An outbreak of Escherichia coli 0157-H7 infections associated with
leaf lettuce consumption. J Infect Dis 1998. 177; 1588-1593.
MerminJ. Mead P. Gensheimer K, Griffin P. Outbreak of Escherichia coli 0157-H7 infections among boy
scouts in Maine. In: Program and abstracts of the 36th Interscience conference on Antimicrobial agents
and Chemotherapy; September 15-18, 1996; New Orleans, La Abstract K44;257.
HahnCG Snell M, Jue B et al. Escherichia coli 0157-H7 diarrhea outbreak due to contaminated salad,
Idaho. 1995 In: Program and abstracts of the 45th Annual Epidemic Intelligence Service conference;
April 22-26,1996. Atlanta, GA. page 18.
Finallyone from europe. Verotoxinogenic Citrobacter freundii associated with severe gastroenteritis
and cases of hemolytic uraemic syndrome in a nursery school; green butter as the infectinon source.
Schape, H. Prager, R, Streckel W, et al. Epidemiol Infect (1995) 114, 441-450. green butter is of course
organic parsley butter.

There are others in the UK associated with drinking unpasteurised milk, eating vegetables from a manured
garden (organic manure). But of course E. coli 0157 infections come from conventional food as well.

Anthony Trewavas FRS
Institute of Cell and Molecular Biology
Mayfield Road
University of Edinburgh
Edinburgh EH9 3JH
Phone 44 (0)1316505328
Fax 44 (0)1316505392
email Trewavas@ed.ac.uk
web site http://www.ed.ac.uk/~gidi/main.html
To view the web site simply click on the address