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Food Safety Manure and How it Affects Our Global Health How We MUST Change To Combat E. coli

Updated on March 27, 2015

Our beautiful country side may be contaminating our water supply. For you see, county water is particularly susceptible to a nasty bacteria called E.coli that is hard to detect and even harder to combat. How does contamination occur? Why has it become more prevalent? How can we make effective decisions as we change the way we produce food for our families and our communities?

The real question is how can effectively combat this contamination but first we must understand the sources and the cause. Journey with us as we show visually with an exceptional diagram that showcases how drinking water is often contaminated even in rural communities. Learn about effective, all natural methods that can combat harmful bacteria even the difficult to kill MRSA and E. coli. See first hand how dangerous our rural farmlands have become and learn why this problem is more explosive and disconcerting today than ever before.

Food Safety Manure Runoff

Manure runoff map of United States Nitrogen Vulnerability
Manure runoff map of United States Nitrogen Vulnerability | Source

The Etymylogy of E. coli

What is E.coli? Why does it start with a capital "E" and a small "c"? Great questions.

E. coli is short for Escherichia coli, named after the biologist who isolated and identified this complicated and potentially harmful bacteria - a German physician named Theodor Escherich.

What is E.coli is a bacteria that inhabits the intestines or the guts of animals and humans.

Global Food Production Problems Defined

This problem of manure contaminating our drinking water is not an exclusive problem isolated only to the boundaries of the United States of America, it is a global problem that is perhaps even more explosive to population intense countries such as Brazil and China who are emerging power houses on the economic forefront.

Ironically, the population explosion is not to blame for the increased contamination. Many think this is the root of the problem when in reality, it is merely a symptom, not the foundation of the problem.

"Some bacteria that are associated with foodborne illnesses can be found in fresh manure because these bacteria are a natural part of animal intestinal tracts."

The Real Source of Contamination - Mass Food Production

The root of the problem is mass food production. We have learned to be more efficient and yet along with this efficiency has come a massive growth in size which in turn increases our exposure. The real source of the problem is that we have not fully integrated sanitizing procedures into the very thread of the food production system.

Mass food production is needed for a number of reasons. Oh, the small farmers will hate me, I know. I am part of a family that still makes it living on growing corn and beans. I am personally biased both from my families fortunes but also from my local commute. You see, my daily communicate is along some of the most beautiful and most bountiful acreage. Someday, I will literally count the number of manor barns that I pass along my 40 minute daily commute. If I were to guess I probably have over 25 manor barns along my 30 mile journey. What is a manor barn? It is a rare structure that will probably become extinct in the lives of my grandchildren. It is a barn so massive that it serves extensive acreage. A manor barn is the executive level of barns in the farming community - or at least this is the city's girl viewpoint.

The days of the small farm are diminishing very rapidly across the world. Our society demands efficient production. Part of this is the result of the price pressures large box stores such as WalMart has placed upon food suppliers.

Some would blame the big box stores but in reality no one can be held culpuable other than the end consumer. We are all price conscious and food is the second largest mandatory expenditure for our families (behind housing).

Self Sufficient Communities Have Diversity

A well designed community is a community that offers mixed uses. Including residential alongside retail is the job of the urban planner and the job of the trustees and the Mayor is to ensure the residents have jobs with an area zoned for office and also for manufacturing.

Years ago, I questioned the wisdom of a Mayor who took the prime land of his community and zoned it industrial. The neighboring community had placed multi-million homes along this same waterfront.

When I questioned the Mayor, he replied he felt his community needed jobs and his goal was to employ the residents of his small suburb of Chicago. I was shocked! And was and will always be a fan of this great leader who had the foresight during strong economic times to look to the future for his community.

The fundamental rule of development is to create a community or a state or a nation that is self sufficient. The emergence of corporate farms has centralized cattle, dairy and grain farmers. The days of owning and operating a farm under 200 acres is a luxury my grandchildren most likely will not know. The times of visiting Grandpa and riding the tractor, tending the horses are gone with the exception of an elite few.

This is not just an American trend, it is a global trend. It is a sad statement that we must recognize and adapt to. What it tells us is we must develop sanitzing methods to ensure the food and drinking water are safe. We no longer have a diversified community with soil that can sufficiently filtrate harmful bacteria. We have crafted corporate farms that are beyond the size of even the days of the manor barn. These farms cover hundreds of acres and serve to provide the best food we have ever had at the lowest prices in the history of mankind.

The question becomes with this new centralized farming system, how do we sufficiently prevent infection and disease? Let's take a look at the reason why the drinking water and foods we produce become contaminated with e.Coli. Let's develop new standards of excellence where natural sanitizers are used at every step of the production process to combat bacteria. Let's recognize not all bacteria is harmful but even a small percentage can be deadly and take the life of a loved one.

If you have every had food poisoning, you know the severity of some of these illnesses. My experience with food poisoning was from shrimp, many others are from sprouts, lettuce, and other leafy greens. Some are from eggs and poultry and not following proper cross contamination food preparation standards. Yet the largest contributor of illness is from the farm. We have learned this and we have enacted legislation for traceability. These new traceability standards help isolate the reason for the existence of the harmful bacteria. Yet, we have not effectively, in my humble opinion, developed sufficient procedures, step by step to prevent our farmlands from harboring harmful bacteria. This is a new science that desperately needs attention.

How Manure Can Contaminate Farmland and Drinking Water

Diagram showing how farmlands can contaminate farmland and drinking water from rain run off
Diagram showing how farmlands can contaminate farmland and drinking water from rain run off | Source

Where Does the Bacteria Originally Start?

"People and animals excrete pharmaceuticals and their metabolites, which then find their way into the environment through a variety of routes—treated waste water, agricultural runoff, and bio-solids and manure that are used as fertilizers. Pharmaceuticals also enter the environment when people dispose of medications by flushing them down the toilet or pouring them down the drain."

Food Safety Diagram of Aquifer Water Contamination

Diagram of aquifer water contamination showing the run off from various sources such as sewage, household waste and animal waste
Diagram of aquifer water contamination showing the run off from various sources such as sewage, household waste and animal waste | Source

What is An Aquifer?

Aquifer is an underground body of water, typically, an aquifer resides under several layers of soil and stone.

Wells can be deep or shallow and are drilled to access the supply of water residing underground in the aqua fir.

Food Safety Stream Diagram

Food Safety Stream Diagram
Food Safety Stream Diagram | Source

Various Sources of Contamination - Airborn and Soil

Run off from livestock, cattle

  • Over application of fertilizers
  • Run off from application of fertilizers
  • Wind borne cross contamination of fertilizers

Bacteria Thrives Upon

  • Sunlight
  • Warmth
  • Alkalinity

Food Safety - Flow of Animal Waste

Visual representation of animal waste and the amount produced by various cattle
Visual representation of animal waste and the amount produced by various cattle | Source

Quiz on Agriculture Management for Microorganisms for Food Safety

view quiz statistics

Food Production New Technologies are Needed Now

New technologies are now available for all natural sanitization and disinfection. Learning the availability and the proper application of these new technologies demands a new management science to fully integrate sanitizing methods in each step of the food production process. Iodine which is the old stand-by can now be supplemented or even completely replaced for dairy production with new technologies that are all natural. These technologies can help save our environment and our lives. Food borne illness is a war that every global citizen must learn about and actively voice their opinion for better methods and procedures beyond just the new leglislation of traceability.

Before reading this article, were you aware of the management issues facing manure?

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© 2012 Kelly Kline Burnett


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    • 4FoodSafety profile imageAUTHOR

      Kelly Kline Burnett 

      6 years ago from Fontana, WI


      You are brilliant! Yes! You even know how to garden properly. At church, where I am Activities Director, the mantra is 10 minutes before church to take a bathroom break and wash our hands. It is a memorable schedule and sets the foundation for proper hygiene.

      Talk about a a difficult subject. I know it needed to be addressed but who wants to read about manure and our foods? Oh, my! Of course, I am never scared of the rough subjects but sadly the audience of small - only really smart people would take the time to do it right.

      I continue to be saddened with the number of people afflicted with disease and find these topics as necessary as breathing. We must take an active stance on education and training.

      Thank you for sharing and your words of encouragement - it really means allot.

    • 2uesday profile image


      6 years ago

      I grow my own vegetables on a soil that needs compost and manure adding to it as it is a fine sandy soil. I tend to grow the salads etc. in raised beds and keep the well rotted manure for applying to the areas where we grow root vegetables, which get washed and peeled before use. If anyone helps me with working on the plot, I tell them they need to wash the foods before eating them, and we make a habit of washing our hands thoroughly when we have finished working on the vegetable plot.

      I have heard a theory that there is a higher incidence of bowel cancer in areas where the rivers etc. have a high run off of nitrogen fertilizers from the agricultural land, which is worrying. It is good to see a page that give so much information on a topic that people might want to read and learn about.

    • 4FoodSafety profile imageAUTHOR

      Kelly Kline Burnett 

      6 years ago from Fontana, WI


      Your background is very impressive - thank you so much for reading this and voting it up.

      I know it sounds like a strange subject but I feel strongly it is a subject that need attention. If we can better manage our land with natural sanitizers and new procedures, I feel we can prevent illness, we can prevent unnecessary deaths.

      Food poisoning is a horrible illness. If we look at the food production industry from start to finish, the problem is more than just traceability, the problem really stems from procedures.

      AS you know, if we postage stamp our cattle and our dairy, we must take precautions to help the environment - it is beyond an ecological problem, it is a basic health problem.

      The government legislation for traceability I feel is short sighted. I am not a proponent of legislation, I am a proponent of consumer activism. The food retailers have the power to ask for green procedures. I don't want our government to legislate this, I want the mega retailers and mega food manufacturers to step up to the plate and develop the proactive procedures that we need for our safety.

    • mary615 profile image

      Mary Hyatt 

      6 years ago from Florida

      This Hub was researched well, and written well. I really learned a lot. I'm a retired Med. Tech. and I am familiar with E. coli. I voted this Hub UP, etc.etc.


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