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Marler Blog Providing Commentary on Food Poisoning Outbreaks & Litigation

Oregon Strawberry E. coli Outbreaks – It really was Bambi that did it!

Screen Shot 2011-08-17 at 3.32.35 PM.pngLynne Terry, the E. coli Lady of The Oregonian, today wrote that Oregon scientists confirmed today that deer droppings from Jaquith Strawberry Farm contained the same strain of E. coli that sickened people in Multnomah, Washington Clackamas, Yamhill and Clatsop counties.

Lab testing confirmed deer as the source of the outbreak,” said William Keene, senior epidemiologist at Oregon Public Health.

Scientists picked up environmental samples from fields at Jaquith Strawberry Farm in rural Washington County and 10-tested positive for E. coli O157:H7. Of those, six matched the strain that sickened 15 people in Oregon, including one woman who died. The other four were separate strains of E. coli O157:H7.

Keene said the outbreak strain turned up in samples from fields in three separate locations.

  • Doc Mudd

    Just another one of those tedious little facts of life Walt Disney left out of his productions. So, it’s simply not a part of the fantasy world so many people believe they’re living in nowadays. The high school biology teacher never stood a chance of being heard (do you even remember his/her name?).
    Bambi never pooped, nor did Thumper. Now, about these new supermodels and rap ‘artists’…

  • Steve

    Looks like Bambi could use a good Deer Lawyer (Clarence Deerow?)… Some questions remain: how did the deer get contaminated? Could the deer and the strawberries have been contaminated by the same source — ie. irrigation water from cattle runoff? And why were the farm’s U-Pick customers not affected?
    According to lab tests reported on 8/17 — a dozen of the collected deer dropping specimens tested positive for E coli 0157:H7 (10% of the 120 specimens collected) and six of those had matching DNA fingerprints to the outbreak strain.
    However, these specimens were found in all 5 fields that were sampled but adjoining U-pick fields were not sampled because “they were not implicated in the outbreak” — ie. no pick-your-own strawberry customers who were actually out in the fields got sick from Jaquith Farm’s popular “kid friendly” U-Pick strawberry operation.
    It’s curious that the deer were implicated in contaminating only some strawberries (that were bought by unlicensed reseller/handlers — and then illegally marketed to the public) but not the pick-your-own customers who were actually out in the fields with there kids running around, etc…

  • Margaret

    How does E.coli 0157:H7 end up in deer droppings? I thought that E. coli 0157:H7 was unique to cows and was related to the overuse of antibiotics. Am I wrong about that? Where else does the 0157:H7 strain show up?

  • Doc Mudd

    “I thought that E. coli 0157:H7 was unique to cows and was related to the overuse of antibiotics. Am I wrong about that?”
    Yes.
    Yes, you are wrong about that.
    Reciting it over and over and over and over will not make it true, either.

  • Doc Mudd

    Infected deer defecating in a field of strawberries isn’t so difficult to imagine.
    What’s difficult to comprehend is how these tainted strawberries could possibly end up in 8 different local farmers markets, many being illegally resold as home-grown?
    E. coli is out there. So are dishonest farmers market vendors, apparently.
    http://www.oregon.gov/ODA/FSD/strawberries.shtml#Sales_list_as_of_August_16__2011
    http://www.marlerblog.com/case-news/know-your-farmer-know-your-food—except-when-it-is-not-the-food-they-grew/

  • Margaret

    Dear DOC MUDD:
    I quote from the 2002 book, Secret Agents:The Menace of Emerging Infections by Madeline Drexler on the virulence of E coli 0157:H7:

    “……………..in experiments on mice, Tufts University researcher David Acheson may have found the answer. When Acheson gave the animals low levels of antibiotics, the phage virus wildly replicated itself, and its magnified forces were more likely to infect other bacteria. Antibiotics also spurred the phage to pour out clouds of Shiga toxin. Acheson speculates that when farmers began the practice of feeding cattle small doses of antibiotics to spur growth, beginning in the 1950s — perhaps not coincidentally, when the first reports of sporadic HUS in children came out — they may have unleashed O157. More backing for this theory comes from epidemiological evidence. E. coli O157:H7 is a disease of affluent, developed nations — which also happen to be the ones that feed growth-promoting antibiotics to livestock.”

  • Doc Mudd

    We are given Madeline Drexler, a journalist (not a medical microbiologist) who writes; “Acheson speculates…”
    ‘Journalist’ and “speculates”. Well, there’s your problem, right there, Margie. You’re takin’ the lazy way out of knowing what you’re talking about. Gotta get into the actual science! Here’s a start…
    http://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=jwiarLy3auUC&oi=fnd&pg=PA195&dq=e+coli+0157:H7+evolution+infant+diarrhea&ots=MKITK14kiA&sig=vDC5LHGYzBuuzeKEE_chx6yaiF8#v=onepage&q&f=false
    http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1020&context=vetscipapers&sei-redir=1#search=%22O157%3AH7%20surveillance%20Deer%22
    http://www.marlerblog.com/lawyer-oped/grass-fed-vs-grain-fed-beef-and-the-holy-grail-a-literature-review/
    http://www.jstor.org/pss/4617474
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2094871/
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC152399/pdf/0871.pdf
    .
    An observation, if I may…”journalists” seem to be prospering by misinforming the general public about food and farming. I could “speculate” upon their creepy agendas and greedy motives, but so can you…and you should.
    Madeline Drexler is a journalist
    Michael ‘food is too cheap’ Pollan is a journalism professor
    Eric ‘food inc’ Schlosser is a journalist
    Cleveland Amory is a journalist
    Mark Bittman is a journalist
    Tom Philpott is a journalist
    Andrew Schneider is a journalist
    Michele Simon is a journalist
    Jill Richardson is a journalist
    and the list goes on…
    Nary a medical microbiolologist, biologist, ecologist, food or animal scientist among them.
    Just paid opinionated journalists, one and all.
    And, you tend to get only what you pay for.

  • Margaret

    To DOC MUDD:
    Fair enough. I greatly appreciate the links since my interest is in learning the science, even if only as a layman ( educated of course).
    I would however dispute your characterization of these journalists as people with “creepy agendas”.
    Sincere thanks for taking the time to post the links, thanks.

  • Doc Mudd

    Happy reading and here’s to true learning, Margie!
    Oh, BTW, I left a couple of prominent raw milk propagandists off the previous list.
    I didn’t omit them on purpose, so please don’t go getting all torqued off, people.
    OK, here’s the addendum:
    Sally Fallon Morrow is a journalist
    David Gumpert is a journalist
    There are probably lots more, but contemplating them makes my head ache.
    Don’t get me wrong — journalists in food & ag probably serve some useful purpose (just like the unsolved mystery of teats on a boar hog). They invariably herald a brilliant solution to some imagined problem…we just don’t always have the correct problems for the solutions journalists are paid to raise hell over, that’s all (geez, talk about your “industry shills”!).

  • Doc Mudd

    Awww, crap…another critical omission (but not on purpose, I assure you – please, please believe me!!).
    Ralph Loglisci, the Project Director for the Johns Hopkins Healthy Monday Project and a frequent FSN contributor, also is a celebrated journalist.
    Dammit, this list of profiteering propagandizing journalists might never end and, I fear, it might ultimately be the death of me…it’s already making me feel nauseous and faint, if that’s any consolation to you knee-jerk industry haters out there.