Aquaponic Gardening

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I'm very concerned that e coli is being under evaluated as a potential containment.  Repeatedly I'm finding references to the idea that e coli cannot exist in aquaponics, but the references are circular and based on statements without substantive scientific backing, and I beg to differ. While there is evidence that e coli isn't a normal aquaponic component, the potential for cross contamination is still high, and according to University of HI, http://www.ctahr.hawaii.edu/oc/freepubs/pdf/FST-38.pdf (link isn't working right, help appreciated) there is still a potential for the organism to exist in an aquaponic system, although with competition for space with the positive bacterial it's ability to over-run a well maintained system seems to be limited.  If this particular concern is better addressed in a more complete study please direct me to it!  If aquaponics is to be proven safe, regular testing must occur in order to prove that this contaminant isn't in the system.  The tests are expensive, and require a UV light to guage the presence of e coli (with most the tests I've looked at). Is anyone currently testing for e coli?  Can anyone refrence a stronger scientific study for me?

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Dan, you could even start a Food Safety Group if you like which could share info on all types of food safety as well as info on pathogen testing for systems.  I don't know that moving it into a commercial group is really necessary since food safety affects all of us, hobby and commercial though the extremes that one might go to will vary depending on the situation.

 

Then withing a food safety group we could have discussions on different pathogens and food handling as well as some place to find links on the subject and different means of testing etc.

I just re-read and saw the contradictions I stated,  You're right TC.

TCLynx said:

Dan, you could even start a Food Safety Group if you like which could share info on all types of food safety as well as info on pathogen testing for systems.  I don't know that moving it into a commercial group is really necessary since food safety affects all of us, hobby and commercial though the extremes that one might go to will vary depending on the situation.

 

Then withing a food safety group we could have discussions on different pathogens and food handling as well as some place to find links on the subject and different means of testing etc.

I would also recommend any food safety include principles of H.A.C.C.P. systems. There is a lot of information on the USDA FSIS web site as long as FDA.. By the way haccp stands for Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points every meat plant( Federal) is required to have a Hazard analysis evaluating the hazards associated with each step in the process(Physical, chemical and biological hazards) and a plan to control these hazards. This system can work with any process including Aquaponics



TCLynx said:

Dan, you could even start a Food Safety Group if you like which could share info on all types of food safety as well as info on pathogen testing for systems.  I don't know that moving it into a commercial group is really necessary since food safety affects all of us, hobby and commercial though the extremes that one might go to will vary depending on the situation.

 

Then withing a food safety group we could have discussions on different pathogens and food handling as well as some place to find links on the subject and different means of testing etc.

Earl - Not to be a jerk, but if you look at the first post of the thread, you'll see that I'd made mention of HACCP right off the bat, as well as explaining the original sources of that food safety practice, the definition of the abbreviation, and my faith in the process.  I'm glad you agree, and the breakdown in potential hazard areas wasn't something I'd mentioned, but it bugs me when our threads have redundant redundancies.
Relax guys, I expect Earl was just reacting to my suggestion to start a group and saying to make sure to post stuff about HACCP, which I expect you will Dan. :)
sorry for being redundant but evaluating  HACCP plans is what I do for a living as a USDA FSIS Consumer Safety inspector.I just wanted to stress how imprortant HACCP is.

Dan Brown said:
Earl - Not to be a jerk, but if you look at the first post of the thread, you'll see that I'd made mention of HACCP right off the bat, as well as explaining the original sources of that food safety practice, the definition of the abbreviation, and my faith in the process.  I'm glad you agree, and the breakdown in potential hazard areas wasn't something I'd mentioned, but it bugs me when our threads have redundant redundancies.
I'm sorry I was short, it's a pet peeve, I wasn't looking to start a beef, I just wanted to let you know that I wouldn't broach the subject of food safety without the particular experiences I've had in dealing with food safety issues in the restaurant and grocery businesses over a 27 year career.  As you're an evaluator of HACCP plans, you've got a specific depth of knowledge regarding food safety that many here haven't been exposed to, and as I'd like to be able to pick your brain without concern over having offended you, I'll apologize a second time, and I will value your input in furthering these discussions.

Earl ward said:
sorry for being redundant but evaluating  HACCP plans is what I do for a living as a USDA FSIS Consumer Safety inspector.I just wanted to stress how imprortant HACCP is.

Dan Brown said:
Earl - Not to be a jerk, but if you look at the first post of the thread, you'll see that I'd made mention of HACCP right off the bat, as well as explaining the original sources of that food safety practice, the definition of the abbreviation, and my faith in the process.  I'm glad you agree, and the breakdown in potential hazard areas wasn't something I'd mentioned, but it bugs me when our threads have redundant redundancies.


Earl ward said:

Last years FDA recall of spinach was caused by E coli 0157:h7. The Ecoli 0157:h7 bacteria was actually in the spines of the plants not cross contaminated. This was caused by the plants up take of the bacteria from the ground water. Ecoli 0157:h7 does not live in the intestinal tracts of fish but could be put into the system by cross contamination.

 

Earl can you link to the FDA report that determined that the E coli was actually taken up by the plants...rather than cross contamination...

I'm struggling to grasp the biological mechanism that allow a plant to incorporate a bacteria into its cell structure...

All the FDA information I've read consistently refers to cattle and wild pig contamination of the irrigation wells and ground water... that was used not only to grow the crops...

But to wash the product during processing.... and utilised during sanitation of equipment..

No definitive determination could be made regarding how E. coli O157:H7 pathogens contaminated spinach in this outbreak.

 

http://www.marlerclark.com/2006_Spinach_Report_Final_01.pdf

 

The joint FDA/State of California field investigation found the same strain of E. coli O157:H7 as was involved in the illness outbreak in samples taken from a stream and from feces of cattle and wild pigs present on ranches implicated in the outbreak. The investigation team also found evidence that wild pigs have been in the spinach fields.

http://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Testimony/ucm110926.htm

 

 Using the product codes on the bags, and employing DNA fingerprinting on the bacteria from the bags, the investigators were able to match environmental samples of E.coli O157:H7 from one field to the strain that had caused the outbreak. Potential environmental risk factors for E.coli O157:H7 contamination at or near the field included the presence of wild pigs, the proximity of irrigation wells used to grow produce for ready-to-eat packaging, and surface waterways exposed to feces from cattle and wildlife.

Because the contamination occurred before the start of the investigation, and because of the many ways that E.coli O157:H7 can be transferred -- including animals, humans, and water -- the precise means by which the bacteria spread to the spinach remain unknown.

http://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/2007/ucm1...

Dan, Thanks for the info =)
Cheers, Nick @ Grow It Right Aquaponics
no beef with me and i never took it as one

Dan Brown said:
I'm sorry I was short, it's a pet peeve, I wasn't looking to start a beef, I just wanted to let you know that I wouldn't broach the subject of food safety without the particular experiences I've had in dealing with food safety issues in the restaurant and grocery businesses over a 27 year career.  As you're an evaluator of HACCP plans, you've got a specific depth of knowledge regarding food safety that many here haven't been exposed to, and as I'd like to be able to pick your brain without concern over having offended you, I'll apologize a second time, and I will value your input in furthering these discussions.

Earl ward said:
sorry for being redundant but evaluating  HACCP plans is what I do for a living as a USDA FSIS Consumer Safety inspector.I just wanted to stress how imprortant HACCP is.

Dan Brown said:
Earl - Not to be a jerk, but if you look at the first post of the thread, you'll see that I'd made mention of HACCP right off the bat, as well as explaining the original sources of that food safety practice, the definition of the abbreviation, and my faith in the process.  I'm glad you agree, and the breakdown in potential hazard areas wasn't something I'd mentioned, but it bugs me when our threads have redundant redundancies.

I was given this information at a circuit supervisors meeting for work. It was stated at this meeting the bacterium was found in the spines of the spinach.  Giving the ground water was contaminated by a cattle farm near the fields; the thought was the plant took the bacteria up through the water. My supervisor may have been injecting his own thoughts, don’t know. I will be using the Haccp system with my semi commercial adventure. This is why in my analysis of my system I decided to only to use municipal potable water to start the system. Chlorine will also be added and then removed before start-up to reduce any risks. Fish are also tested for VHS and parasites prior to entering the system. By the way evaluation of haccp plans may have been the wrong term. I mostly check company records to make sure they are following the plans, they have written and they have documentation to support the decisions in the plan and analyses. If you would like more info on haccp as related to the meat industry they are stated in code of federal regulations number 9, animal and animal products, part 417, sanitation is 416



RupertofOZ said:


Earl ward said:

Last years FDA recall of spinach was caused by E coli 0157:h7. The Ecoli 0157:h7 bacteria was actually in the spines of the plants not cross contaminated. This was caused by the plants up take of the bacteria from the ground water. Ecoli 0157:h7 does not live in the intestinal tracts of fish but could be put into the system by cross contamination.

 

Earl can you link to the FDA report that determined that the E coli was actually taken up by the plants...rather than cross contamination...

I'm struggling to grasp the biological mechanism that allow a plant to incorporate a bacteria into its cell structure...

All the FDA information I've read consistently refers to cattle and wild pig contamination of the irrigation wells and ground water... that was used not only to grow the crops...

But to wash the product during processing.... and utilised during sanitation of equipment..

No definitive determination could be made regarding how E. coli O157:H7 pathogens contaminated spinach in this outbreak.

 

http://www.marlerclark.com/2006_Spinach_Report_Final_01.pdf

 

The joint FDA/State of California field investigation found the same strain of E. coli O157:H7 as was involved in the illness outbreak in samples taken from a stream and from feces of cattle and wild pigs present on ranches implicated in the outbreak. The investigation team also found evidence that wild pigs have been in the spinach fields.

http://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Testimony/ucm110926.htm

 

 Using the product codes on the bags, and employing DNA fingerprinting on the bacteria from the bags, the investigators were able to match environmental samples of E.coli O157:H7 from one field to the strain that had caused the outbreak. Potential environmental risk factors for E.coli O157:H7 contamination at or near the field included the presence of wild pigs, the proximity of irrigation wells used to grow produce for ready-to-eat packaging, and surface waterways exposed to feces from cattle and wildlife.

Because the contamination occurred before the start of the investigation, and because of the many ways that E.coli O157:H7 can be transferred -- including animals, humans, and water -- the precise means by which the bacteria spread to the spinach remain unknown.

http://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/2007/ucm1...

Great discussion, everyone.  On an administrative note I agree with Dan and TC about creating a Food Safety group for this topic and using the text box for a list of valuable links.  Dan and Earl, you both seem like excellent candidates to take the lead on this.  Any volunteers?

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