Consumer Reports has issued a warning for salad lovers everywhere.
While there is no recall at the moment, the facts are disturbing.
If you’re among the many that made the resolution to eat healthier this year, and you rely on salad as one of the ways to obtain all those great nutrients your body needs, you probably want to know about the salad bacteria warning. Or not. As mentioned above, their findings are disturbing.
Salad Bacteria Warning
Consumer Reports has published their recent findings for bagged salad.
Their study concluded that 39 percent of the samples tested exceeded a healthy level for total coliform, and 23 percent for Enterococcus. That’s not good, folks.
We have been lead to believe that “pre-washed”, “triple washed” stamped on a bag of salad equals “safe to eat”. It does not.
We tested for total coliforms and for other bacteria, including enterococcus, that are better indicators of fecal contamination. Federal action limits exist for indicator organisms in water, raw meat, milk, and some processed foods, but not produce. Those organisms are typically used to gauge possible pathogen contamination.
Several industry experts we consulted suggested that for leafy greens, an unacceptable level of total coliforms or enterococcus is 10,000 or more colony forming units per gram (CFU/g) or a comparable estimate. In our tests, 39 percent of samples exceeded that level for total coliforms and 23 percent for enterococcus.
Results varied widely among samples, even within the same brand, from undetectable levels of those bacteria to more than 1 million CFU/g. Packages with higher bacteria levels had similarities. Many contained spinach and were one to five days from their use-by date. Packages six to eight days from their use-by date fared better. Whether the greens came in a clamshell or bag, included “baby” greens, or were organic made no difference.
The above is quoted from Consumer Reports and you may read the rest by clicking here.
Known brands like Dole, Earthbound Farm Organic, and Fresh Express as well as store brands failed the tests. I find it disgusting that people wanting and needing to work, can’t take the time to properly wash their own hands.
Like many other folks, I thought the idea of pre-packaged salads was the greatest invention since sliced bread. We live in such a hurried and harried world that we gleefully accept all the help we can get, especially if it’s supposed to be “healthy.” Not too many people have the extra time to wash and dry lettuce and other salad ingredients, and we soon fell in love with the bags. Now, not so much.
So what can we do if we don’t want fecal matter and other contaminants in our tossed salad? My first answer is to quit buying the pre-packs and buy heads of lettuce instead….but then I remembered that I know a lot of people that think lettuce wrapped in cellophane is safe to eat without washing.
The answer is we have to do what we had hoped to get away from: wash our own greens.
Consumer Reports say the following:
* Buy packages as far from their use-by date as you can find.
* Even if the bag says “prewashed” or “triple-washed,” wash the greens yourself. Rinsing won’t remove all bacteria but may remove residual soil.
* Prevent cross contamination by keeping greens away from raw meat.
For more information, click here.
I have a feeling that good old salad spinners are going to be back in high demand.