Dear Editor,

I am writing in response to the STEC E. coli article related to the Purdue Study.

I am a board adviser for the Aquaponic Association and a commercial aquaponic grower. We believe that the Purdue study was very flawed and that they had poor handling procedures and created a cross-contamination issue between their other cattle, swing and livestock production and the aquaponic and hydroponic systems in the study. Furthermore they did not perform traceback as they mentioned it was outside the scope of work. In addition, they allowed a level 2 STEC E. coli contaminate to remain in their study systems and lab environments possibly endangering students, staff and potentially even cross contaminating their larger systems. This seems horribly negligent.

No other study has found fish feces to be the source of a pathogen. The only relationship is for fish that are reared in water that is already been contaminated with mammal or human feces.

Here is the Aquaponic Association response written by several university professors from U.S. and Canada as well as commercial members.

— Tawnya Sawyer

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