Leafy green progress

Doug Powell
The good microorganisms out-compete the bad, so no one will get ever get sick.
I’ve heard variations of that from a lot of organic growers over the past decade — yet there is no evidence that such claims are true.
But there is lots of evidence that people get sick from fresh produce — organic, conventional, or otherwise.
It’s all about the bugs.
Ian Davidson of BioLogic Systems LLC writes in the San Francisco Chronicle this morning that there is, “a microbial force field around the plant that is naked to the human eye. By inoculating plants with these beneficial organisms, it is virtually impossible for pathogenic organisims to even touch the plant, because the beneficial aerobic organisms are in such dominance. These beneficial organisms can easily eliminate the pathogen, or simply outcompete it for food resources.”

One of my students heard the same thing back in 2000. I sent her on a day long workshop to learn how to be an organic inspector. Microbial food safety was never mentioned, until my student brought it up at the end of the day, and was told, no worries, the good bugs keep the bad bugs at bay.
Yet fresh produce remains the single biggest source of foodborne illness today.
Sure, soil microbiology is complex, but until our knowledge increases, I’ll side with the victims of foodborne illness. And there’s a lot of them,