Norovirus Food Poisoning from Pesticides

Norovirus Food Poisoning from Pesticides
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Organic produce may present less of a food safety risk, given the potential contamination of pesticides with fecal pathogens.

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Below is an approximation of this video’s audio content. To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video.

Although the most serious causes of food poisoning, like salmonella, come mostly from animal products, for example, most foodborne-related deaths “were attributed to poultry,” millions of Americans are sickened by produce every year, thanks to noroviruses.

Noroviruses can be spread…person-to-person…[via] the fecal-oral route [or] the ingestion of aerosolized vomit…”, which may explain most norovirus food outbreaks. But, a substantial proportion remained unexplained. How else could fecal viruses get on our fruits and veggies? The pesticide industry may be spraying them on. The water that’s used to spray pesticides on crops may just be dredged up from ponds contaminated with fecal pathogens. “The application of pesticides may therefore not only be a chemical hazard, but also a microbiological hazard for public health.”

So, what’s their solution? Add more chemicals. “The inclusion of antiviral substances in reconstituted pesticides may be appropriate to reduce the virological health risk posed by the application of pesticides.” Or, we could just choose organic.

Either way, though, we should always wash all fruits and veggies under running water, as one solution to pollution is dilution.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Images thanks to tpmartins and Roger Smith via flickr, and the CDC

Below is an approximation of this video’s audio content. To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video.

Although the most serious causes of food poisoning, like salmonella, come mostly from animal products, for example, most foodborne-related deaths “were attributed to poultry,” millions of Americans are sickened by produce every year, thanks to noroviruses.

Noroviruses can be spread…person-to-person…[via] the fecal-oral route [or] the ingestion of aerosolized vomit…”, which may explain most norovirus food outbreaks. But, a substantial proportion remained unexplained. How else could fecal viruses get on our fruits and veggies? The pesticide industry may be spraying them on. The water that’s used to spray pesticides on crops may just be dredged up from ponds contaminated with fecal pathogens. “The application of pesticides may therefore not only be a chemical hazard, but also a microbiological hazard for public health.”

So, what’s their solution? Add more chemicals. “The inclusion of antiviral substances in reconstituted pesticides may be appropriate to reduce the virological health risk posed by the application of pesticides.” Or, we could just choose organic.

Either way, though, we should always wash all fruits and veggies under running water, as one solution to pollution is dilution.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Images thanks to tpmartins and Roger Smith via flickr, and the CDC

Nota del Doctor

DOCTOR’S NOTE

When you hear of people getting infected with a stomach bug from something like spinach, it’s important to realize that the pathogen didn’t originate from the spinach. Intestinal bugs come from intestines. Greens don’t have guts; plants don’t poop.

So, the salmonella in alfalfa sprout seeds (see Don’t Eat Raw Alfalfa Sprouts) likely came from manure run-off, or contaminated irrigation water. But, this pesticide angle adds a whole new route for fecal pathogens to pollute produce. Broccoli Sprouts are safer, and organic sprouts may, therefore, be safer still.

Organic foods may also be healthier (see Cancer-Fighting Berries), and don’t carry the potential chemical hazards associated with pesticides. See:

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