Tuesday, August 16, 2011
CONTAMINATED STRAWBERRIES: ARE THE DEER TO BLAME?
Unfortunately, the deers' droppings can be the biggest hazard. This lesson has been brought home by the recent outbreak of E.coli 0157 bacteria in strawberries from a farm in Oregon, USA (see previous post). During July, these strawberries were distributed in several counties in Oregon and sold at some 8 farmers' markets, 10 retail outlets, and over 40 roadside stands or farm stands. (For the known list of reseller locations see http://oregon.gov/ODA/FSD/strawberries.shtml).
Public Health officials say that maybe 10% of strawberry samples from one farm have been found to be contaminated. This is an unusually high rate of contamination. It is suspected that deer dropping may be the cause. The feces found near the strawberry plants is presently being tested for the same bacteria that caused the illnesses.
This wouldn't be the first time that Oregon deer have tested positive for E.coli 0157 - or, that strawberries have been found to carry this bacteria.
Joe Jaquith, the owner of this large strawberry farm, and a fourth-generation farmer is devastated. But what could he have done? I have seen deer leap over my 6 foot fence, seemingly with ease. Nothing we have tried seems to stop them.
To your good health,