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Re: HACCP "Rules"

Would you rather eat apples sprayed with some toxic chemical to prevent disease, or sprayed with a compost tea to prevent that plant disease?    If you forget to wash apples sprayed with the toxic chemical, what effect will the toxic chemcial have on you? 

Will compost tea or the toxic chemical have more detrimental effect on your health, or your children's health, if you forget to wash the apple before you eat it? 

So, you don't spray your apples with toxic chemical because you have no disease?  Then you aren't going to spray tea either, are you?  The tea is applied where you need to apply, for a particular reason.  No disease, no tea.  Eat away.

But of you have disease for which you apply toxic chemical or tea, wouldn't it be wiser to wash the apple before eating it?   I really doubt you eat pesticide-sprayed apples without washing them.

Bird manure contains pathogens.  If birds poop on fruit, you should wash it before you eat it.  If you are downwind of a dairy manure pile, or a chicken coop, or an anything containing high numbers of E. coli or other human pathogens, you should wash your fruit before you eat it.   If there is a potential source of pathogen, then take precautions.

How long after a bird poops on the fruit until the pathogens are likely gone?  That's what the 90 to 120 day waiting period is about.  Given time, lots of air, lots of competing organisms, the "bad bacteria" will be out-competed and removed.

Addition of beneficial bacteria and fungi to an apple's surface might speed the process of removing pathogens through competition and consumption.  That would be some interesting research.  So, maybe applying good compost tea would result in safer fruit, and less likelihood of contamination. 

Elaine Ingham
President, Soil Foodweb Inc.