Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Vegetable Garden with Boil Water Advisory.

Drinking and recreational water have been carriers in several outbreaks of E-coli, but it is more common to come from fecal contamination by infected animals or people. The Boil Water advisory should not change what you do to your garden vary much. You should all ready be taking precautions to prevent infection of E. coli from your garden. This Advisory does alert you to do somethings different. E. coli bacteria cannot be taken up by plant roots and then transported throughout the plant. However, if the edible portion of your plants contact the soil or if the edible portion of your plants have been watered with "suspect water" there is some risk of E. coli contamination. To minimize risk of E. coli contamination. It is best not to harvest with in 30 days of exposure to potentially infected water. But that may not be possible. It is important to prevent direct contact of potentially contaminated water with the fruits or vegetables you plan to harvest. The type of plant you are growing affects how you water. If the edible portion of the crop is located above the soil, it is better to water with a drip system or a furrow or flood system than with sprinklers. Keeping the water on the ground will minimize exposure on the editable portion, and limit direct contact between the water and the eatable crop. If the plants can survive until the boil water advisory is over it is best not to water. Apply a thick mulch to limit evaporation and extend the time until you have to water. If you have to irrigate you can treat the water with unscented house hold bleach. Table 1. Amount of bleach needed to disinfect water Gals. of water to disinfect Amount of bleach needed* 1 2 drops 5 11 drops 50 1 3/4 tsp. 100 3 1/2 tsp. 500 6 Tbs. *Will produce water with about 2 parts per million of chlorine. Let stand one hour before watering. Root crops and leafy vegetables have the greatest risk of exposure from infected water to soil. Colorado State University Cooperative Extension recommends that in the kitchen: Food handling and preparation practices are the last line of defense for preventing infection from E. coli and other food borne pathogens. The following actions can help ensure the safety of the food you serve. They are especially important if you or those you are serving are at risk for food borne illness. The groups at highest risk include pregnant women and infants, children, the elderly and immune-compromised individuals. Wash hands thoroughly before working with food and after using the toilet, changing diapers, handling animals or helping people who have diarrhea. Thoroughly wash with either boiled water or water from out side the advisory area. The water does not have to be hot. All raw fruits and vegetables just before preparing or eating them. This not only helps remove dirt, bacteria and stubborn garden pests, but it also helps remove residual pesticides. Separate and individually rinse the leaves of spinach and lettuce. Peel potatoes, carrots, yams and other root vegetables, or clean them well with a firm scrub brush under lukewarm non-suspect preferable running water. Pat dry with paper towels. Clean and sanitize cutting boards, utensils and surface areas used to prepare any raw food before using them to prepare another product, especially if that food will be eaten raw. Use 3/4 teaspoon of chlorine bleach per quart. Avoid cross-contamination between raw and cooked foods. Store fresh meat below produce in the refrigerator. Never place cooked meat on an unwashed plate that held raw meat. Cook ground meats thoroughly to 160 degrees F. Check the internal temperature with a thermometer. Use only safe, treated water to clean with. Refrigerate leftovers promptly. Rinsing some produce, such as leafy greens, with a vinegar solution (1/2 cup distilled white vinegar per 2 cups water) followed by a clean water rinse has been shown to reduce bacterial contamination but may affect the taste. For more information see http://extension.colostate.edu/topic-areas/nutrition-food-safety-health/preventing-e-coli-from-garden-to-plate-9-369/

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