CORRECTION:  Charles Margulis -- who works with the so-called Center for Food Safety, an organic food lobbying group -- has called my attention to the fact that 200 people were made seriously ill (rather than dead) from eating manure-contaminated fresh spinach last fall. Only three people actually died.  My apologies for the unintentional error. 

"Proper composting" of manure is supposed to kill off the trillions of bacteria that are naturally present in the fresh stuff (otherwise known as "poop" in the language used by my son).  But something went wrong at some point in the practices used by the Missions Organics farm, and the poop seemed to end up everywhere.  Synthetic fertilizer does not contain bacteria of any kind -- period. 

So synthetic fertilizer cannot cause food poisoining - no need to worry if it's been processed properly.  (Bacterial contamination can occur at later stages of the food making process.)

I've been traveling across eastern Europe and off the blogosphere for the past week, but this news item caught my attention, as it was relevant to my previous post on the problems with "organic food."

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Hollister, California - State officials have determined that spinach linked to last fall's nationwide E. coli outbreak was contaminated on a 50-acre farm in San Benito County. .  . The contamination occurred in a field transitioning from conventional to organic farming practices . .  . Seattle-based attorney Bill Marler, who is representing 90 plaintiffs in a suit related to the E. coli outbreak, added Salinas grower Mission Organics to the defendants in his lawsuit on Tuesday .  .  . On Wednesday, Marler told the Free Lance he has known since November that the E. coli contamination occurred on land farmed by Mission Organics and leased from Paicines Ranch, and that the state agency's investigation only confirmed that.

This farm has been using organic fertilizer (i.e. cow manure) for the past two years, which -- based on straightforward scientific reasoning -- is almost certainly the source of the toxic E. coli strain that killed over 200 Americans who ate "fresh" spinach last year. (SEE CORRECTION ABOVE)

So while organic advocates have worked themselves into a tizzy condemning meat from cloned cows and genetically modified crops -- which haven't caused a single stomach ache in a single person among the 300 million plus who have been eating this food for over 10 years -- organically grown spinach kills!   

The easiest way to avoid the most significant harm inherent in food production (food poisoning caused by toxic strains of E. coli present in manure) is to avoid all unprocessed food grown on organic farms.    So-called conventional farms use only synthetic fertilizer which has no bacterial contamination.