Rosie Lerner of Purdue University Extension reports that gardeners long have used manure from various farm animals to fertilize and enrich their soil. However, recent public awareness of food-borne illnesses has left many gardeners wondering if using manure is safe.
There are a number of pathogens, including E. coli, salmonella and listeria, that can be transferred to humans from animal manure. Some manures also may contain parasites, such as roundworms and tapeworms.
If fresh manure is applied to the garden or compost pile, there is a high risk of causing illness to the gardener, as well as anyone eating fresh produce from that garden. Fresh manure also can be harmful to growing plants, due to being too high in available nitrogen, thus burning roots.

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