Diana Stuart, a doctoral candidate from UC Santa Cruz, goes over a literature review of scientific studies indicating that wildlife associated with natural environments pose little risk to food safety. Studies of deer show they carry relatively little to no traces of E. coli 0157: H7, even when sharing the range with cattle. A recent review of field rodent research concluded it is unlikely they carry pathogens. Other research shows vegetation serving as wildlife habitat protects water quality and can even reduce the transport of pathogens.
"Food safety" practices have caused serious environmental harm and may actually be counterproductive to keeping our food safe. Much harm has occurred following the spinach E. coli outbreak in 2006, though systemic problems were brewing before that incident. This event, held November 20, 2008 at Fort Mason in San Francisco, brought together regional and national speakers to address the important and pressing issue of current food safety practices that threaten the sustainability of our food systems, as well as human health and wildlife. Fresh perspectives and the latest research on critical U.S. food safety challenges were addressed.