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US: New study says keeping wildlife habitat next to farm fields is perfectly safe.

Buffer strip image by SARE Outreach / Flickr CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Photo: SARE Outreach / Flickr, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Monterey County Weekly: Nearly a decade ago, a deadly outbreak of E. coli linked to bagged spinach grown and processed on the [California] Central Coast sickened more than 205 people and killed three.

The outbreak triggered some major changes to farming and food safety practices, originating on Salinas Valley farm fields.

Growers formed the Leafy Greens Marketing Agreement, a voluntary set of guidelines designed to prevent pathogens from coming into contact with salad greens.

Those guidelines are largely based on common sense: Ensure there are enough portable toilets and sinks for field workers at their work sites; don’t pick salad greens from a flooded area; don’t apply raw animal manure as compost.

The guidelines also call on growers to minimize intrusion of wild animals—rodents, rabbits, deer, birds—onto their fields.

Click here to read the full article from the Monterey County Weekly.