Letter: No Gifts of Manure for Me, Thank You
To the Editor:
Henry Homeyer’s “gift” of organic fertilizer (“Manure for Christmas?” Dec. 5) can have dangerous consequences. Patrons of organic food grown with manure that is not properly sanitized to kill toxic bacteria need to know that serious illness or death can result. Recall the recent outbreaks of human sickness and death in California, Colorado, New York, Europe and Canada from E. coli and Listeria in cantaloupe, celery, lettuce, spinach, cucumbers, tomatoes, apple juice and beef, some of which were undoubtedly caused by improperly “aged” (heated) manure used as fertilizer. The families of the 5,000 Americans who die each year from eating bacteria-contaminated food are all too aware that germs kill.
As a practicing organic chemist and chemistry professor for 47 years, I never buy or knowingly consume organic food when I know that food made the modern, conventional way with clean, synthetic fertilizer is not only safer, but cheaper!
Henry, keep your manure.
Gordon W. Gribble
Professor of organic chemistry