Ever since the outbreak of Listeria from bagged salad greens (eight times in 2012!), I’ve been paranoid about washing my greens. Even if they come bagged, and the bag is marked “triple washed,” I pay no attention. Out comes my salad spinner (what a great invention – can’t live without it) and rinse…and rinse…and rinse.
I mean, who wants Listeria, which can multiply at refrigerator temperatures, and cause potentially deadly blood poisoning or meningitis in older adults and in people with compromised immune systems?
Why take a chance, when all you have to do is..rinse?
Here’s what the FDA has to say:
Many pre-cut, bagged, or packaged produce items like lettuce are pre-washed and ready-to-eat. If so, it will be stated on the packaging. If the package indicates that the contents are pre-washed and ready-to-eat, you can use the produce without further washing.
Umm…I don’t buy it.
Even though I also read a post on NutritionAction.com that says that rewashing bagged, pre-washed salad greens is very unlikely to make the salad safer – and – it’s very difficult to remove disease-causing bacteria just by rinsing with water once they become attached to leafy greens.
The thought of not washing the greens still scares me.
Even though the Nutrition Action article quoted an FDA safety expert who said there’s a greater likelihood of making a safe product unsafe by cross-contaminating it with bacteria from things like your fingers, cutting boards, countertops or the sink.
I’m still washing. Yeah, I can be stubborn.
As for those yucky, slimy leaves, if there are just a few at the bottom of the bag, use what’s at the top and get rid of the slimy leaves and any leaves they might have touched. If they’re at the top of the bag, it’s not worth taking a chance – get rid of the entire bag.
That’s why I always buy more than one head, or one bag of salad greens when I go shopping.
You just never know.