RE - E coli and organic agriculture
Research at Cornell University last year has shown that ruminants fed
primarily roughage do not harbor E coli 0157:H7. Actually, the research
showed feeding ruminants primarily roughage for their last week of life
enormously reduced the level of E coli 0157:H7 in the carcass. Most
organic ruminants are pastured and are fed roughage for a large portion
of their ration. Therefore, it stands to reason that organically raised
animals are less likely to harbor E coli 0157:H7 and are less likely to
produce manure with E coli 0157:H7 than their feedlot counterparts.
Perhaps the gut environment of a grain fed animal is particularly well
adapted to E coli growth - does anyone know?
Perhaps this is research that needs to be done - comparing organically
raised vs. feedlot/conventional animals for E coli infection. However,
we all know that statistics can be designed to prove anything.
Perhaps the new NOP should adopt the European position that certified
organic farms should not use manure from confined animal operations. If
nothing else, pasture should be absolutely required when climatic
conditions are suitable.
Does anyone know what temperature E coli 0157:H7 is killed - and if
typical thermophilic composting of manure reaches this critical
I understand that E coli 0157:H7 resulted from horizonal gene transfer
of certain critical Shiga toxin genes from Shigella bacteria - does
anyone have further information on this? If so, this is a pretty good
example of what can result from horizontal gene transfer between
bacterial species - a significant point when considering the fate of GM
DNA in the environment.
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