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  • Strawberries with sugar and cream and pulp sludge contamination
    By Maureen Reilly - Kirkfield, Ont.

    You ran a story declaiming that Domtar Cornwall is successfully growing strawberries with pulp sludge. The story maintained that the sludge does not have a problem with pathogens.

    This news contradicts reports I received from Domtar Research Office

    that demonstrates that Domtar sludge after two months, contains 390,000 total coliforms, about 30 times more contamination than manure after the same waiting period. Indeed, as time passes, Domtar research indicates that the level of total coliforms increases significantly.

    In two months it increases from 6000 clu/g to 390,000. Fecal streptococcus was found in the paper mill sludge at 32 000 clu/g even after two months. This pathogen was not detected in manure in any quantity.

    Do we want to be kneeling in fecal streptococcus when picking strawberries? Is it what you want to eat when eating strawberries? How come the company can't find its own research reports when it comes to promoting their wastes as "soil conditioner" for food for our dinner tables?

    Indeed, after sludge application, there is a supposed to be a one year waiting period before fruit can be picked. This is stated in the 'Guidelines for the Use of Biosolids and other Wastes on Agricultural Land'. What farmer will forego a year's harvest for the privilege of using industrial waste on his or her fields?

    These stories must be reviewed more critically before they are fed to the public.

    Editor's Note: The story being referred to (Domtar does it again; Treated pulp mill residue puts a bloom on strawberry plants, April/May AgriNews, page 17) does not report on company findings, but on the results of trials carried out on tissue and soil sampling by Kemptville College over a two-year period and released in a paper by John Madill of the college at an information day for the Eastern Ontario Berry Growers' Association.

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    Eastern Ontario AgriNews is published on the third Monday of each month. The printed version is distributed free by postal mail to farms in Eastern Ontario, Canada.

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