Human excrement in the field is an “accident,” says the farmer

HOMER TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) – The owner of a farm in the Homer area where human waste was found in a field of produce told News 8 that it was a “complete accident” and an “honest mistake.”

Owner Andy Stutzman declined to comment on camera Wednesday but said his farm Kuntry Gardens does not use human waste as fertilizer. He said 5-gallon buckets of trash from an outhouse were accidentally dumped in the field.

Stutzman said the farm is “not trying to hide or do anything that (it) shouldn’t.”

Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development issue a warning This week people were told not to eat Kuntry Farms’ produce because it could be contaminated with human excreta which can spread bacterial and viral infections – although no illnesses have been reported in this case. The use of untreated human waste as fertilizer is illegal in Michigan.

“Whether it’s organic or traditional, we look at the same basic things: is the product made safely and in accordance with the country’s food laws? If that doesn’t happen, we’re issuing consumer notices,” MDARD spokeswoman Jennifer Holton told News 8 over the phone.

MDARD said Stutzman voluntarily told inspectors about the waste during a routine inspection of his farm on R Drive South near Van Wert Road in the township of Homer.

At the moment the farm is not selling anything. MDARD issued a cease and desist order, confiscating affected produce still on the farm and is working with Kuntry Gardens on corrective action. There is no set timetable for this process.

“Ultimately, we want to continue to ensure that food and agriculture businesses thrive and thrive, but this must be done in a way that protects the safety of our food supply, protects public health and is consistent with state law,” Holton said.

On Wednesday, the affected field was bureaucratically marked with the words “restricted”.

Stutzman said he’s really sorry and “sad that this happened” and is working with the state and Calhoun County to make sure it never happens again. He said he is ready to continue next season.

—News 8 Digital Executive Producer Rachel Van Gilder contributed to this report. Human excrement in the field is an "accident," says the farmer

Dais Johnston

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