Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Organic Foods Loaded with E. Coli Kill More People Than Fukushima and BP Oil Spill Combined


It's true. In just the past two years, according to World Health Organization statistics, organic foods loaded with E.Coli bacteria have killed more people worldwide than all nuclear fission accidents and the two atomic bombs dropped on Japan combined. 

The Washington Times reports

Right now, someone nearby is buying organic bean sprouts. It may be the last thing he ever does. Last week’s E. coli outbreak in Germany - potentially traced to an organic farm - was more deadly than the largest nuclear disaster of the last quarter-century.

Indeed, in the past two years, two public safety stories have dominated global news headlines - an explosion and oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and a nuclear power plant meltdown in Japan. Yet in the recent German organic-food-disease outbreak, nearly twice as many people already have died as in the two other industrial disasters combined.
In spite of these facts, people will panic and demand that oil drilling be stopped or that nuclear power be curtailed. I've said it a hundred times: the worse thing that could happen to us is to lose cheap renewable energy.... Well, either that or we eat food loaded with E. Coli bacteria. 

The articles continues...
Yet, 23 deaths and more than 1,000 hospitalizations caused by an industrial accident at an organic farm in northern Germany have caused no such newfound caution toward the expansion of that industry. It is easy to understand why. Organic farming has a reputation for being the domain of small-scale family businesses focused on caring for the Earth more than profits. Every organic-produce customer I interviewed at three supermarkets since the German outbreak began have cited better health as a key reason for buying organic food.
That’s exactly what the organic industry wants them to think. In a question-and-answer article directed at consumers, the Organic Trade Association says this: “There is mounting evidence at this time to suggest that organically produced foods may be more nutritious. Furthermore, organic foods … are spared the application of toxic and persistent insecticides, herbicides, fungicides and fertilizers. Many EPA-approved pesticides were registered long before extensive research linked these chemicals to cancer and other diseases.”
If that view of the organic industry was ever true, it has changed over the past 20 years. Organic food has grown into a multibillion-dollar global food enterprise driven by the very same bottom-line pressures that safety advocates blame for Tokyo Power and BP putting their corporate profits before public safety. If you don’t believe it, ask yourself why organic bean sprouts cost twice as much as modern bean sprouts. In a word, greed.

In Japan, they cost a lot more than twice as much. That's why I never buy them.
The scale of the danger we ignore by pretending organic food isn’t a business like every other is nearly unimaginable. According to World Health Organization statistics on E. coli deaths, in just the past two years, more people have been killed by the disease than all fission-related events since the dawn of the nuclear age - even if you include the use of nuclear bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Well, there you go. What can we do and eat that is safe? Good question. I can tell you one thing, though. I started peeling all fruits and vegetables completely. I may not be able to get rid of radiation that way, but I can get rid of pesticides and other chemicals... And, judging by the evidence, those are much more dangerous.


Murasaki Shikibu said...

I was wondering when you would write about this. Thanks for finally doing it. ;)

Anonymous said...

It somehow looks like organic food was the unknown evil and the German is evidence for this. But in Germany it could have been all kinds of food that became contaminated. In the end it was sprouts (or the seeds; we still don't know), and they happend to come from a farm that produced organic sprouts. That does not tell me that organic food industry is worse than the rest.

Murasaki Shikibu said...

The point is that organic food isn't safer than food grown with chemical fertilizers in this sense, i.e. e.coli contamination. In the days of old, it was far more dangerous to eat salads than it is now due to the use of purely organic fertilizers which was human feces in some cases. There were no guidelines either to decontaminate the fertilizers as there is now. So go figure.
Eating unwashed fruit or vegetables is still risky. You should rinse them very well under running water and if they are organic, they definitely aren't safer than the stuff that's not.

OrganicTrade said...

It is important to understand the facts – and spread the word – about organic and food safety.

Sprouts—regardless of their source—have been identified by FDA as requiring special food safety protocols because of the potential for pathogen growth during the sprouting process. Contaminated seed is the likely source for most reported sprout-associated outbreaks.

All food, whether conventionally or organically produced, is susceptible to E. coli. That is why strong food safety regulations and practices are critical. FDA, as recently as last week, and the Centers for Disease Control acknowledge there is no evidence to indicate that organic products are more likely to be contaminated by E. coli.

In the United States, organic farmers and processors have tools in their tool kits that place organic agriculture at no disadvantage in terms of food safety.

In fact, organic producers take a much broader view of “food safety,” by prohibiting harmful practices such as using toxic and persistent pesticides that have been linked to harming children’s cognitive development, the application of sewage sludge on the land, the sub-therapeutic use of antibiotics that have been linked to breeding antibiotic-resistant bacteria including virulent strains of E. coli, and the use synthetic growth hormones that have questionable effects on humans.

Anonymous said...

Thank you OrganicTrade for your intelligent comment.

As far as oil drilling and the BP disaster, personally the first thing that comes to my mind regarding the dangers of oil drilling is the potential risk to the environment not and not a direct risk to humans. Basically someone needs to work on an idea to replace automobiles. That would be a good start.

Whyhateorganic said...

" According to World Health Organization statistics on E. coli deaths, in just the past two years, more people have been killed by the disease..." This does not state that people were killed by E. coli in organic foods, just that they were killed by E. coli.