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Who’s Really to Blame for E. Coli Outbreak?

Written by PETA | June 3, 2011

As fingers are pointed over exactly who or what is responsible for the outbreak of a deadly new strain of E. coli in Germany, cucumbers, tomatoes, and lettuce have taken most of the heat. But just like you can’t squeeze blood from a turnip, you can’t get E. coli from a cucumber—at least that’s not where it originates.

The root of the problem isn’t a root at all. E. coli bacteria live in the intestines and feces of animals, which is why most E. coli outbreaks are associated with meat. When plants do become contaminated, it is because they came into contact with infected meat (via a cutting board or countertop) or because infected animal waste was used to fertilize crops or leaked into waterways. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, 70 percent of food poisoning is caused by contaminated animal flesh.

E. coli contamination often starts at the slaughterhouse.

The World Health Organization is suggesting that people keep raw meat away from other foods. But while the heads of farmers and lettuce continue to roll in Europe, perhaps researchers and government agencies should stop lobbing tomatoes at produce stands and pay a visit to the factory farms.

Written by Michelle Sherrow

Commenting is closed.
  • Krissy says:

    But E. Coli lives inside of us all the time. these things happen with or with out cows.

  • MA Moore says:

    Plagues are nature’s way of letting us know something is out of balance in the natural world. They can also be viewed as punishments for committing Egregious acts against nature and the natural world.

  • MA Moore says:

    It is my understanding that fertilizer gained from infected animals on factory farms)is used to fertilize crops is the culprit here. Factory Farms are a menace to society. This is why people buy “ORGANIC” vegetables. I am learning to buy Vegan fertilized vegetables for this very reason. I used to think being a Vegitarian was safe, not I am learning to go Vegan. Avoid the plague and Go Vegan today!

  • Steve says:

    I have felt the same as well. Everyone is blaming vegetables, but it is meat that is the problem. The worlds obsession with meat is not going anyway anytime soon, which is very sad.

  • Travis Christal says:

    But what ABOUT using manure as a fertilizer? Couldn’t that be the culprit? If so–is “factory farming” really to problem? (via the argument that cow manure is more likely to have higher levels of E. Coli if the cow is fed grains rather than grass?) Even if that is the case, perhaps vegetable farmers bear some responsibility, because they were fertilizing their crops with the manure of grain-fed cattle…

  • Lynne Snyder says:

    When I was reading the paper this morning, I lamented,once again,how the article downplayed the role of factory farming in the E. Coli outbreak. Thanks, PETA, for telling the real story.