Bagged salad increases risk of salmonella

  • I love bagged salads, they save time. I was wondering about risk of bacterial contamination and it appears this study supports my concern.
  • Publication in American Society of Microbiology publication, Applied and Environmental Microbiology-Location of study University of Leicester. Read the study Reference link
  • In short, wet lettuce or lettuce juice increases the risk of salmonella.

What is salmonella?

  • Salmonella is a bacteria that causes diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps. Severe dehydration can occur requiring hospitalization.  The infection can spread into the blood stream can cause sepsis which is rare but can lead to death.

Should we avoid bagged salads?

According to an NPR article, “Though you may remember food-borne illness outbreaks linked to bagged greens, the risk is actually quite low, and apparently no higher than from traditional wash-at-home lettuce heads.”

  • Large processing plants triple wash the lettuce although this a concern for water usage it decreases the risk of bacterial contamination.

Is bagged salad less nutritious?

  • This topic remains controversial although studies support that many nutrients, including concentrations of vitamin C and other beneficial compounds known as flavonoids levels are maintained.

Benefits of bagged salads

  • Bagged salads are convenient, they save time. Open and go.
  • Bagged lettuce has helped increase our intake of vegetables.
  • Bagged lettuce allows a mix of lettuces all at one time

Things to consider

  • The longer vegetables are stored, the more they lose their anti oxidants levels.
  • Considering throwing away bags that have wet lettuce leaves. As the lettuce ripens, it gives off methane so try to avoid salad bags that have a lot of air in them.
  • There will be intermittent outbreaks, this can happen with both bagged and loose lettuce.
  • There have previous outbreaks of E coli and Listeria.
  • It is important to keep up with the FDA alerts so that you can be notified about these outbreaks that occur in our food.

What happens when there is a outbreak?

The CDC recommends,

  • Throw the recalled product away, even if some of it has been eaten and no one has gotten sick.
  • Wash and sanitize drawers or shelves in refrigerators where recalled products were stored.
  • Wash reusable grocery bags often.
  • Cloth bags should be washed in a washing machine, and plastic-lined bags should be scrubbed using hot water and soap.
  • I turn my plastic bags inside out then throw them in the  washing machine.
What do you think about bagged salads?
I am going to keep using them.


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