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Growing Food with Sewage Sludge: The Poop on Biosolids

  • The Poop on biosolids
    Local growers must toe line, but imports don’t, says activist
    By Gordon Delaney
    the Chronicle Herald, April 18, 2010
    Straight to the Source

NOVA SCOTIA consumers should think again if they believe they are not eating foods grown in biosolids, says a strong opponent of the controversial fertilizer.

"In the food industry, we have some retailers, like Loblaw, who demand that local fruit and vegetables growers not use biosolids on their crops," said Marilyn Cameron, chairwoman of the biosolids and wastewater caucus for the Nova Scotia Environmental Network.

"But . . . they allow imported produce to be sold that results from its use," she added.

 NOVA SCOTIA consumers should think again if they believe they are not eating foods grown in biosolids, says a strong opponent of the controversial fertilizer.

"In the food industry, we have some retailers, like Loblaw, who demand that local fruit and vegetables growers not use biosolids on their crops," said Marilyn Cameron, chairwoman of the biosolids and wastewater caucus for the Nova Scotia Environmental Network.

"But . . . they allow imported produce to be sold that results from its use," she added.

Cameron, a Wolfville veterinarian and tireless opponent of biosolid use, said local grocery store shelves are packed with food items from places like California, Mexico and China.

Agricultural practice in Mexico is virtually unregulated, while no one really knows what's happening in state-controlled China. California farmers spread about 450,000 tonnes of treated human sewage sludge on their fields last year, said Cameron.

She said the grocery chains also allow local dairy, meat and egg producers to use biosolids on pastures used for animal feeds and grazing, and Western Canadian farmers use it to grow wheat, grains and cereals.

She added that some countries who export food to Canada use biosolids to grow food stock for their animals. "And we know that grazing animals eat a lot of soil, so it's still getting into the food chain."


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