Consumers are being told to steer clear of produce from a Michigan farm after state authorities said it may have been contaminated with untreated human waste.
The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development said Monday that it discovered human waste had been used in the field where Kuntry Gardens’ crops are grown while conducting a routine inspection last week.
The waste came from two, 5-gallon buckets that were in outhouses on the property, according to the Detroit Free-Press.
Farm owner Andy Stutzman told state health officials that the untreated human waste had been dumped onto the field sometime in February, according to the Daily Mail. He also said the land wasn’t plowed until April.
“[The waste was] underneath, it was not contacting any fruits or vegetables,” Mr. Stutzman told the Daily Mail.
The owner told WDIV-TV, the local NBC affiliate for Detroit, that the incident was an “honest mistake.”
“We are all about food safety, but this is just something that happened, and it was an oversight,” he told the station.
A cease-and-desist and seizure order was placed on the farm by Michigan’s agricultural agency.
State officials also said that no illnesses have been reported as of yet, but they still encouraged consumers to dispose of the farm’s produce.
Some vendors began taking Kuntry Gardens products off their shelves.
Greener Pastures Market got rid of all its produce from the farm, as well as its eggs, which weren’t affected by the contamination, according to the Free Press.
“It’s very sad and disappointing to hear that this happened,” Peyton Richardson, owner of Greener Pastures, told the newspaper. “We wish everyone the best and that things work out and nobody will get sick.
Another vendor, Busch’s Fresh Food Market, also issued a recall on its Kuntry Gardens products and said it will offer a refund to anyone who purchased the farm’s items since Aug. 1.
“We’ve received word today that one of the farms we were buying produce from has contaminated fields,” White Lotus Farms, another vendor, wrote on Instagram on Tuesday. ‘We will no longer be doing business with them but want to let you know about this immediately.”
People who experience nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, jaundice, fever, abdominal cramps, loss of appetite, weakness, headache, or other symptoms of foodborne illness should contact their medical provider.
Visit Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development’s website for a full list of stores that sell Kuntry Gardens’ products.