Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Feral Pigs and the Bad Spinach

Thanks to a New York Times article ("When Bad Things Come from 'Good' Food") today about food safety (or, more accurately, the lack thereof) I discovered that investigators now believe that the E. coli outbreak in September 2006 that sickened hundreds and killed three was spread from a cattle ranch to the spinach fields by feral pigs. According to Dr. Kevin Reilly, deputy director of the Prevention Services division for the California Department of Health Services:
Animals, wildlife and water were in close proximity to the field. We have evidence for fences torn down, wildlife going into the actual spinach fields themselves. That's where the investigation is centered right now. There's clear evidence that the pig population has access and goes onto the fields. Is that the ultimate means of contamination or is that one potential means, including water and wildlife? We're still investigating that.
This preliminary finding is consistent with other concerns about feral pigs, many of which come from the industrial pork sector, which fears the spread of disease between wild pigs and domestic herds.


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