Thursday, September 21, 2006

E. Coli Tainted Spinach Killing People & Spinach Market

Cattle manure with the E. coli bacterium O157: H7 saturated in ground and surface waters is probably the source of the contamination on spinach. Such water used to irrigate the spinach would contaminate it.

With one confirmed death and sickness rising in the hundreds, it is being reported that the multibillion dollar agricultural sector could lose hundreds of millions of dollars due to spinach market losses. Authorities are trying to locate and isolate the source of the E. Coli and supermarkets have already removed all spinach from its shelves. It appears that the E. coli appeared in a bag of spinach in New Mexico. It is being reported that the outbreaks have now reached 31 states. The Food and Drug Administration is continuing its investigation. (Wash Post article)

Normal E. coli is usually harmless as a bacterium in our and animal digestive systems. The acid in our stomachs is strong enough to kill the bacterium. E. coli O157: H7 is the one killing people because our stomach acid is not strong enough to kill it, thus the abdominal cramps, diarrhea, fever and sometimes fatal kidney failure. A grain diet instead of a hay diet is more conducive to the production of O157: H7 E. coli. (New York Times)

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