Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Prewashed Greens Contaminated By Fecal Bacteria

Prewashed bagged salad greens were found largely contaminated by enterococus and coliform bacteria in a recent test by Consumer Reports. These bacteria indicate fecal contamination and poor sanitation.

Consumer Reports gathered 208 samples of prewashed bagged salad greens, purchased in multiple stores in three different states. It found high levels of contamination in 39% of the samples for coliform bacteria, and 29% for enterococcus.

There was no difference in contamination between clamshells and bags, and between organic and non-organic greens.Many contaminated samples contained spinach, and were one to five days from their date of last use. Packages that were at least 6 days away from their date of last use saw less contamination.

What should you do?
  • Do not assume that prewashed or triple-washed greens are safe to it "as is"
  • Pick bagged greens that have as much time left as possible to their date of last use - at least 6 days
  • Avoid spinach mixes
  • Wash bagged salad greens thoroughly prior to use, even if prewashed or triple-washed

Consumer Reports original article

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