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Center for Agroecology

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Food Safety versus Environmental Protection on the Central California Coast: Exploring the Science Behind an Apparent Conflict


This research brief explores the apparent conflict between new food safety rules designed to minimize the presence of wildlife around farm fields, and environmental protection efforts designed to decrease the impacts of pesticides, fertilizers, and sediments on the environment.

Using information from existing research, the brief examines the effectiveness of measures being used by Central Coast growers to address environmental problems. We then summarize the history of food safety issues on the Central Coast, and outline potential sources of crop contamination in the field. Finally, we discuss the ways that food safety guidelines conflict with environmental protection methods, proposing the idea that such methods could in fact be designed to reduce contamination sources and improve food safety.

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