Farm market stand.

MN Impact: Researchers and Extension Partner to Look at Food Safety Implications of Alternative Cropping System

July 27, 2017

Issue

The desire for locally grown and sustainable food sources continues in Minnesota. But more work is needed to integrate risk-based research and outreach to improve the safety of food from farm-to-fork.

What has been done

U of M food safety researchers partnered with Extension's Regional Sustainable Development Partnerships and a local sustainable food and agricultural non-profit to research and validate an innovative permaculture chicken production system that is accessible to low-income and beginning farmers. Specifically, they were studying the food safety risks of using chicken manure for field fertilizer in an alternative poultry production system.

Results

Microbial testing was conducted on spinach and cantaloupe grown in fields fertilized the prior year with organic chicken manure. The tests revealed coliforms, Salmonella, and Listeria spp. were present on both produce items. From these results researchers have recommended chemical or heat treatment of organic manure when using in such practices.