November 28, 2014
FRESNO, Calif. (AP) - Early results from a study show that just a tiny fraction of wild animals along the central coast have a strain of E. coli that caused the 2006 spinach outbreak.
Researchers at the University of California, Davis have been analyzing samples from 866 wild animals in the last two years as part of an effort to prevent another disaster. The spinach contamination killed three people, sickened 200 and cost the industry $80 million in lost sales.
The exact source of the bacteria was never discovered, but scientists suspected that cattle, feral pigs or other wildlife may have spread the E. coli by defecating near crops.
The California Department of Fish and Game says preliminary results from the study found less than one half of one percent of the animals tested positive for that bacterial strain.
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