With outbreaks of E. coli, salmonella, and listeria infecting salad greens, you may have noticed these leafy vegetables periodically disappearing from grocery store shelves. You may wonder how to stay safe while still treating your body to the health benefits of these nutrient-rich veggies. Most grocery stores carry a variety of salad mixes claiming to be pre-washed and ready-to-eat. You may wonder if those claims can be trusted, or if your leafy greens could use another good rinse at home. Here are some tips to help you get the most benefit from your bagged produce, and to determine whether it needs another good washing before you add it to your salad bowl.
8. Read the Label
While some bagged produce makes no claims to as to prior washing, others bear labels stating they have been “pre-washed” or are “ready-to-eat.” Salad mixes that have been washed should be safe to go straight from the bag into your salad bowl. The GreenGate Fresh company uses a six-step wash process. The wash cycle treats salad greens to a cleaning process involving three flumes, chlorinated water curtains, and shakers to remove excess water. Since a simple rinse under your kitchen faucet isn’t likely to remove any additional microbes, feel free to enjoy pre-washed salad greens straight from the bag.
7. Know FDA Guidelines
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) sets guidelines for the handling, packaging, and storage of foods. The FDA Food Safety and Modernization Act was enacted by Congress to aid in the prevention of food-borne illnesses. This act, and the guidelines set forth by the FDA, is meant to ensure the safe handling of food, including produce, from the farm to the grocery store to your shopping cart. FDA guidelines for consumers state that produce labeled “ready-to-eat” may be safely consumed without additional washing