What’s lurking in your bagged salad? Gag me a with a tadpole.

April 1, 2009

The next time you peruse the bagged lettuce aisle in search of convenience, you may want to keep wandering towards the out-of the ground varieties. While the boom of ‘triple-washed’ bagged salads helped yield the industry some serious green -upwards of $2.6 Billion – what’s lurking inside may surprise you. Look closely. For some adventurists who may think the image above is a French nouvelle take on the gourmet salad craze – you know, a Frog Legs and Baby Lettuce concoction – bon appetit. But for most of us who are looking to achieve somewhere near 5-10 a day without a trace of tadpole, you definitely got more than you could stomach.

This may be the exception to the rule but recall, it was less than three years ago that the U.S. reeled from a frightening outbreak of E.coli from contaminated bagged spinach, leading to one death and hundreds of illness, some hospitalized. There are many factors that have been cited as contributing to the problem – from farming practices using tainted animal manure to improper food handling. However, all of the issues surrounding that particular outbreak were linked to only the bagged type – not the unpackaged greens. Scientists know that Salmonella and E. coli O157 can cause serious sickness in humans and can spread to produce, especially leafy greens, if they are fertilized with contaminated manure, irrigatedwith contaminated water, or if they come into contact with fecal matter during the cutting, washing, packing and preparation processes. Potent pathogens have the ability to fester in a sealed environment, such as a plastic bag. If not handled or dried properly, micoorganisms can get out of control.
Now, before you get totally turned off of the idea of eating another salad again, know the benefits greatly outweigh the potential risks. Fruit and vegetables are the basis of a healthy diet and with a dose of safe food handling knowledge, you can take matters into your own hands. Pick up a plethora of unwashed varieties – from butter lettuce to arugula, romaine to radicchio – and save yourself some serious green ($3.50 for average bagged salad vs. $1.60 for head lettuce) while getting your food Über clean.
Here’s a few tips to keep your edible delights from turning toxic:
— But be sure you wash your hands before handling lettuce or any raw produce…especially if you have been in contact with any raw meat.

— Separate each leaf of lettuce and give them a good spray with EAT CLEANER™. Allow the lettuce to soak for up to 5 minutes. Rinse thoroughly in the Wash and Dryer until the water runs clear through the strainer. Drain water and give it a spin dry. Blot with a paper towl and serve. EAT CLEANER™ will help to keep your produce fresher, longer.

— If you insist on bag salads, experts say it doesn’t hurt to wash it again. EAT CLEANER™ can take care of business. Also, check the expiration date before you eat it. Even if the lettuce looks good, you should know E.coli can grow quickly in greens that are deteriorating.

— Clean your cutting boards and prep areas with EAT CLEANER™ to avoid cross-contamination.
— Keep that salad chillin’ to help deter spoilage.
— If you like to wash your greens in advance, make sure you dry them thoroughly. Damp veggies can culture mold and bacteria in the fridge otherwise. Our advice: Wash just before you eat to help ensure freshness.

Check out the video link below for an in-depth look.

Here’s to good, clean eating, from The EAT CLEANER™. Clean Plate Club.

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