E.Coli in Organic Food Leads to 50 Dead in Germany

It is important to find the source of outbreaks not only for health but economic reasons. Before the source had been traced to an organic farm in Northern Germany, German health officials had suggested that Spanish cucumbers might be the source, and Spanish cucumber-growers had to destroy much of their crop. The European Commission generously awarded $300,000,000 of other people’s money to compensate the farmers for the initial, though understandable, mistake. A blanket ban on European vegetable exports to Russia was enforced, thus impoverishing the Russian diet yet further, until the elucidation of the cause of the outbreak. Overall, the cost of one organic farm in Germany to European horticulture is said to have been in the region of $600,000,000.

The E. coli that caused the outbreak was a new strain, and it will bring some comfort to believers in the benevolence of Nature to know that one of the evolutionary pressures under which it developed was the widespread use of antibiotics. Nevertheless, perhaps it would be a good idea to print on all health-food packaging and vitamin supplements the following words: WARNING: OVER-CONCERN FOR YOUR HEALTH MAY BE DAMAGING TO YOUR HEALTH.

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