Daily Archives: May 5, 2015

Minnesota Congressional District “Ground Zero” for Terror Group Threat

“It’s just the latest example of how and why Minneapolis—and specifically the congressional district of Muslim Democrat Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN)—has become ground zero for the threat to the United States from Islamist terror groups such as ISIS and Al-Shabaab.”  here for more

E. coli 0157:H7 Outbreak Linked to Iceberg Lettuce and Agricultural Water

Richard J. Gelting,  Mansoor Baloch,  Max Zarate-Bermudez,  Maha N. Hajmeer,
J. Christopher Yee, Teresa Brown,  Benson J. Yee. A systems analysis of irrigation water quality in an environmental assessment of an E. coli O157:H7 outbreak in the United States linked to iceberg lettuce. Agricultural Water Management. Mar2015, Vol. 150, p111-118.

A foodborne Escherichia coli O157:H7 outbreak in December 2006 included 77 illnesses reported in Iowa and Minnesota. Epidemiologic investigations by health departments in those states and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) identified shredded iceberg lettuce ( Lactuca sativa L.) as the vehicle of transmission. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Minnesota and California public health agencies traced the lettuce to several growing regions in California based on information from a lettuce processor in Minnesota. Samples from an environmental investigation initiated by the California Food Emergency Response Team (CalFERT) revealed a genetic match between the outbreak strain and environmental samples from a single farm, leading to an in-depth systems-based analysis of the irrigation water system on that farm. This paper presents findings from that systems-based analysis, which assessed conditions on the farm potentially contributing to contamination of the lettuce. The farm had three sources of irrigation water: groundwater from onsite wells, surface water delivered by a water management agency and effluent from wastewater lagoons on nearby dairy farms. Wastewater effluent was blended with the other sources and used only to irrigate animal feed crops. However, water management on the farm, including control of wastewater blending, appeared to create potential for cross-contamination. Pressure gradients and lack of backflow measures in the irrigation system might have created conditions for cross-contamination of water used to irrigate lettuce. The irrigation network on the farm had evolved over time to meet various needs, without an overall analysis of how that evolution potentially created vulnerabilities to contamination of irrigation water. The type of systems analysis described here is one method for helping to ensure that such vulnerabilities are identified and addressed. A preventive, risk-based management approach, such as the Water Safety Plan process for drinking water, may also be useful in managing irrigation water quality.