Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Think That Bagged Salad's Safe?

Do you wash your already-prepared salad greens (including the ones that say they've been double or triple washed) that you purchase from your local grocery store?  You just might wish you had after reading this article from Consumer Reports.

Consumers Union has recently tested bagged salad greens and also greens found in plastic clamshells sold in supermarkets.  The results of this study may surprise you.

Bacteria was found in samples taken that are common indicators of poor sanitation and results also showed fecal contamination. In fact, some levels of samples tested were rather high.

National brands such as Dole, Earthbound Farm Organic and Fresh Express along with regional and store brands had at least one package with high levels of total coliforms or enterococcus.

The Food and Drug Administration needs to set stronger safety standards for fresh produce. Consumer's Union is supporting a Senate Bill that would require them to do that. It's called the Food Safety Modernization Act, Senate Bill 510.

You can find the full article here:

They suggested purchasing packaged greens as far as possible from their use-by date because they had less contamination. They also suggested washing the greens even if they say triple-washed, but their comments say that washing will remove extra dirt and not bacteria.

I've done a little research and found that Truth or Fiction reported, "Research published by the Journal of Food and Science in 2003 showed effective results of using hydrogen peroxide to decontaminate apples and melons that were infected with strains of E.coli."

Some websites I've researched recommended 1/4 cup of 3% hydrogen peroxide added to a sink of water while cleaning greens, fruit and vegetables. I haven't found anything official yet as to the correct amount to use, but I'll keep researching. So for now I'll use the 1/4 cup until I find anything that says differently.

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