Study Says Not Enough Evidence to Link Wild Birds with Food-borne Illness

A Washington State University study published in Biological Reviews found little evidence to support a supposed link between wild birds and food-borne illnesses. Although wild bird feces can contain E. coli, Salmonella, and Campylobacter, researchers found only one study definitively linking wild birds to a food-borne illness outbreak. They found no studies with data regarding 65% of North American breeding bird species. “Farmers are being encouraged to remove wild bird habitat to make their food safer, but it doesn’t appear that these actions are based on data,” said lead study author Olivia Smith. “When you restrict birds from agricultural settings, you are doing something that can lead to their decline.”