Don't blame the deer
Early results of wildlife testing on California's Central Coast have found that only a tiny fraction of the 866 animals sampled carried the virulent E. coli strain of bacteria that contaminated spinach in a deadly 2006 outbreak. State wildlife officials are hoping the results will take the bull's-eye off deer and other wild animals.
Central Coast growers declared war on wildlife in their fields after the outbreak, which was linked to cattle and wild pigs on a ranch east of Salinas. They shot deer, poisoned ponds to get rid of frogs and tore out trees and bushes. If wholesalers found evidence that deer had been in a field, they wouldn't buy the crop.
But of the 311 samples collected from black-tailed deer, none came back positive for the bacterium. "Wildlife are not the Typhoid Marys some people think they are," said state wildlife biologist Terry Palmisano.
For more details, see the Times story.
— Bettina Boxall