In some of today’s yuckier news, Michigan consumers have been alerted that their vegetables might be contaminated with human waste. A grower called Kuntry Gardens was using “raw, untreated human waste on the fields where produce was grown for sale to local grocery stores and direct sale,” the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) warned in an advisory.
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Have these people not heard of hepatitis? It’s illegal to use untreated human waste as fertilizer, due to risk of e-coli, norovirus, rotavirus, hepatitis A, clostridium difficile and other things you don’t want to get. The fecal transgression was detected during a routine inspection to Kuntry Gardens, located in Homer, Michigan. No illnesses have been reported.
Kuntry Gardens Owner Andy Stutzman is understandably mortified and insists the night soil application was accidental.
“It was just a small spot, like five feet by five feet, of human waste that got dumped there from an outhouse,” said Stutzman, according to Click on Detroit. Stutzman did not think the contamination extended further. But, um, dumping your outhouse anywhere near where you’re growing food reminds of that old saying, “Don’t sh*t where you eat.” We don’t really want to take our chances with the rest of the field.
Stutzman has run Kuntry Gardens since 2009. He’s closing his farm business for the rest of the year to do extensive soil testing. If all goes well, he’ll reopen in spring.
“We are all about food safety,” he said. “We do not want to put anything out there that is not safe.”
At least 10 retailers were selling Kuntry Gardens-labeled produce in 19 Michigan towns. Some have since cut ties with the farm and/or promised refunds for cabbage, peppers, squash, green beans and other vegetables grown by Kuntry Gardens. MDARD said that if people experienced symptoms of foodborne illness, such as nausea, diarrhea, fever, jaundice, headaches or abdominal cramps, they should pursue medical care.
Lead image via Pexels