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E. Coli – A Problem Not Specific to Sustainable Agriculture

FiBL has now published a revised version of its background information on E. coli.


There has been much speculation about the pathogenic EHEC bacterial strain that has tragically claimed the lives of more than 30 people so far in Germany. Meanwhile, the transmission pathways have for the most part been identified. The origin of the pathogen, however, is largely unclear.
In the context of the EHEC outbreak there have been debates as to whether certain agri-cultural methods (e.g. mixed holdings including both livestock and crop production, or the use of organic fertilizers for vegetable production) or certain sanitization methods for fresh consumable products (such as the use of organic acids, a mild treatment that leaves fewer residues) may increase the risk of infection.
This document does not address the current epidemiological situation of the outbreak in northern Germany. Its purpose is rather to provide background information on the question of how sustainable agricultural methods based on nutrient cycling deal with patho-gens that can be transmitted from animals to humans (zoonoses).

Further information


The document can be downloaded in several language versions from the Organic Eprints archive.

OrgPrints.org: Enterohaemorrhagic E. coli (EHEC) – A Problem Not Specific to Sustainable Agriculture


Urs Niggli, Director FiBL Switzerland


Niggli, Urs, Andreas Gattinger, Ursula Kretzschmar, Bettina Landau, Martin Koller, Peter Klocke, Christophe Notz and Jacqueline Forster (2011): Enterohaemorrhagic E. coli (EHEC) – A Problem Not Specific to Sustainable Agriculture. FiBL background info. Research Institute og Organic Agriculture FiBL, Frick, June 17, 2011