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State: Don't eat produce grown by Kuntry Gardens because it used human waste as fertilizer

gardeners or farmers holding bowl of tomatoes
Elaine Casap
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The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development says do not eat produce with a Kuntry Gardens label because the farm used human waste as fertilizer.

People should not eat produce grown and distributed by Kuntry Gardens, farm in Homer, Michigan, because the farm was using human waste from its outhouses as fertilizer.

Jennifer Holton is the director of communications for the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD). She said the practice is a violation of Michigan Food Law, as well as other state and federal laws and regulations.

"When you use raw untreated human waste, the potential for certain diseases and other issues can certainly appear," she said.

Those diseases can include hepatitis A, Clostridium difficile, E coli, rotavirus, and norovirus.

Holton said all remaining produce at the farm has been confiscated, and MDARD is working with the farm to oversee disposition and corrective action.

MDARD says although it may have been sold at other locations, Kuntry Gardens produce is known to have been sold at:

  • Kuntry Gardens, 29910 R Drive South, Homer
  • Busch’s Fresh Food Market stores in Ann Arbor, Brighton, Canton, Clinton, Dexter, Farmington Hills, Livonia, Novi, Pinckney, Plymouth-Northville, Rochester Hills, Saline, South Lyon, Tecumseh, and West Bloomfield
  • Simply Fresh Market, 7300 Grand River Road, Brighton
  • White Lotus, 7217 W. Liberty Road, Ann Arbor
  • Argus Farm Stop, 325 W. Liberty St., Ann Arbor
  • Agricole Farm Stop, 118 N. Main St., Chelsea
  • Pure Pastures, 1192 Ann Arbor Road, Plymouth
  • Ypsi Coop, 312 North River St., Ypsilanti
  • Greener Pastures Market, 21202 Pontiac Trail, South Lyon
  • Holiday Market, 520 S Lilley Road, Canton
  • Cherry Capitol, Traverse City

The Kuntry Gardens produce includes tomatoes (cherry, Roma, heirloom, Sungold and vine ripe varieties), yellow and green zucchini, cucumbers, butternut squash, poblano and red carmen peppers, and pumpkins.

No one at the farm answered the phone when Michigan Radio called for comment.

Tracy Samilton covers energy and transportation, including the auto industry and the business response to climate change for Michigan Radio. She began her career at Michigan Radio as an intern, where she was promptly “bitten by the radio bug,” and never recovered.
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