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[cg] Is Manure Safe for the Garden?

Dear horties,

I just received this from the Purdue University Plant and Pest
Diagnostic Lab.  I thought it would be extremely newsworthy to share.


Larry Caplan, Extension Educator -- Horticulture
	Purdue Univ. Cooperative Extension Service, Vanderburgh Co.
	     -- Southwest Indiana, USDA Zone 6
	Certified Arborist -- International Society of Arboriculture


Down the Garden Path Newsletter
May 12, 1999
Purdue University
Plant and Pest Diagnostic Laboratory

Manure is it Safe for your Garden?
Van Bobbitt, Master Community Horticulture Coordinator & Dr. Val Hillers,
Food Specialist, Washington State University Cooperative Extension

Pathogens (microorganisms which cause disease) can be transferred from
animal manures to humans. The pathogens Salmonella, Listeria and E.coli ,
as well as parasites, such as roundworms and tapeworms, have been linked to
applications of manure to gardens.

Publicity about illnesses due to E.coli 0157:H7 has made people more aware
of the potential risk of foodborne illness from manure contamination. As a
result, many are now asking whether it is safe to use manure on their

In August 1993, The Lancet Medical Journal reported on a small E.coli
0157:H7 outbreak that appeared to be the result of manure applications to a
garden. The gardener ate eggs and milk products, but no meat, and her diet
relied heavily on vegetables from her garden. She fertilized the garden all
summer with manure from her cow and calf. No E.coli 0157:H7 bacteria were
isolated from fecal samples taken from the cow and calf; however, the
animals did have antibody counts for the pathogen, suggesting they had been
previously infected. E.coli 0157:H7 was isolated from the manured garden

So, how risky is the use of manure in gardens and compost piles? If you use
fresh manure in the garden, there is a small risk that pathogens which
cause disease may contaminate garden vegetables. The risk is greatest for
root crops, like radishes and carrots, and leafy vegetables, such as
lettuce, where the edible part touches the soil. Careful washing and/or
peeling will remove most of the pathogens responsible for the disease.
Thorough cooking is even more effective.

 To reduce the risk of disease, we suggest these precautions:

* Apply fresh manure at least 60 days before harvesting of any garden
vegetables which will be eaten without cooking. If you apply manure within
60 days of harvest, use only aged or composted manure.
* Never apply fresh manure after the garden is planted.
* Thoroughly wash raw vegetables before eating.
* Do not use cat, dog or pig manure in gardens or compost piles, because
some of the parasites which can be found in these manures may survive and
remain infectious for people.
* People who are especially susceptible to foodborne illnesses should avoid
eating uncooked vegetables from manured gardens. Those who face special
risks from foodborne illness include pregnant women, very young children,
and persons with chronic diseases, such as cancer, kidney failure, liver
disease, diabetes or AIDS.


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