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That was Louie the fly, in the famous Mortein ads. But it might as well have been organic food, except then it would need to be ‘Straight from manure pile to you.’

Health authorities were issuing warnings years ago about the increased dangers of ‘organic’ foods. Take this, from the Angelo State University in 2001, for example:

Organic Food May Hold Hidden Dangers

Going organic may be hazardous to your health.

The reason is a strain of the E. coli bacteria may actually contaminate certain vegetables when they are fertilized with organic materials, says Dr. Mandy A. Carr, a research scientist and assistant professor of animal science at Angelo State University.

Typical symptoms of an E. coli O157:H7 infection can include acute cramps, fever, vomiting, bloody diarrhea and, in worst cases, kidney failure, Carr said. Children under 5 and the elderly are most susceptible to the infection.

Recent research, she said, has shown that E. coli O157:H7 causes over 40,000 infections and 250 deaths each year in the United States alone. The organism can incubate in the human intestinal tract for up to four days before symptoms develop. The illness can last up to 10 days. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention labels E. coli O157:H7 as one of the top four concerns related to the national food supply.

Or this, in 2002, from the Center for Global Food Issues:

Harsh Organic Reality

Organic food is more dangerous than conventionally grown produce because organic farmers use animal manure as the major source of fertilizer for their food crops. …

Organic farmers compound the contamination problem through their reluctance to use antimicrobial preservatives, chemical washes, pasteurization, or even chlorinated water to rid their products of dangerous bacteria.

The new E. coli attacks even the strong. It inflicts permanent damage on internal organs. It even kills healthy adults. The new salmonella is nearly as dangerous.

As these lethal new bacteria spread, organic foods have clearly become the deadliest food choice.

Bloggers have also drawn attention to the problems of contamination of ‘organic’ food. This from Brian Dunning at Skeptoid in 2007:

Some supporters of organic growing claim that the danger of non-organic food lies in the residues of chemical pesticides. This claim is even more ridiculous: Since the organic pesticides and fungicides are less efficient than their modern synthetic counterparts, up to seven times as much of it must be used. Organic pesticides include rotenone, which has been shown to cause the symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease and is a natural poison used in hunting by some native tribes; pyrethrum, which is carcinogenic; sabadilla, which is highly toxic to honeybees; and fermented urine, which I don’t want on my food whether it causes any diseases or not.

Supporters of organics claim that the much larger amounts of chemicals they use is OK because those chemicals are all-natural. But just because something is natural doesn’t mean that it’s safe or healthy — consider the examples of hemlock, mercury, lead, toadstools, box jellyfish neurotoxin, asbestos — not to mention a nearly infinite number of toxic bacteria and viruses (E. coli, salmonella, bubonic plague, smallpox). When you hear any product claim to be healthy because its ingredients are all natural, be skeptical. By no definition can “all natural” mean that a product is healthful.

Consider the logical absurdity proposed by those who claim conventional growers produce less healthful food. To the organically minded, conventional growers are evil greedy corporations interested only in their profit margin. What’s the best way to improve the profit margin? To buy less pesticides and fertilizer. This means they must use far more advanced and efficient products. The idea that pesticides leave dangerous residues is many decades out of date. Food production is among the most regulated and scrutinized of processes, and today’s synthetic pesticides and fertilizers are completely biodegradable. They’re supported by decades of studies that demonstrate their total safety.

In the United States, 2006 brought two major outbreaks of E. coli, both resulting in deaths and numerous illnesses, ultimately traced to organically grown spinach and lettuce. According to the Center for Global Food Issues, organic foods make up about 1% of all the food sold in the United States, but it accounts for 8% of E. coli cases.

And now, surprise, surprise, the latest massive E. Coli outbreak in Europe which has infected over 2,000 people and killed 22, has been traced to an organic sprout farm in Germany.

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