Salad is more dangerous than hamburgers, health experts warn. Salad that is bagged and labeled, “ready to eat is more dangerous than hamburgers”, states food experts. There have been many recent incidents of infections linked to these prewashed products. There doesn’t seem to be a consensus on whether to re-wash the prebagged vegetables or eat them straight from the bag. The interesting lesson here is that the handlers of these products can’t decide themselves. For example some bags of prewashed lettuce recommend that the consumer re-rinse the lettuce themselves whereas other companies claim to have thoroughly washed the lettuce three times so they feel consumer rinsing can only cause more harm than good. The experts that say consumers should eat the lettuce straight from the bag cite many example of possible contamination in the consumer’s kitchen.
UFE has always strongly opposed eating any type of store purchased raw spinach unless it has been thoroughly cooked. The risk of possible exposure to potentially lethal contaminants is too large to eat any type of spinach raw. In the first few months of 2013 alone there have already been dozens of spinach recalls. Listeria, E.coli and Salmonella are just some of the lethal pathogens that are often the causes for frequent mass recalls.
Taylor Farms of Salinas, California, had to announce a spinach recall in February of 2013 which affected 39 States. Organic Baby Spinach products over concerns they may be contaminated with (EHEC) Enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli. Symptoms of the diseases caused by EHEC include abdominal cramps and diarrhea that may in some cases progress to bloody diarrhea. Fever and vomiting may also occur. This is the third time in as many years that the company has recalled spinach products due to suspected contamination.
Whether it is lettuce, spinach or some other type of produce such as cantaloupe, experts have been rushing to find the “perfect wash,” to clean these vegetables before they are bagged for resale. It is interesting that pre-bagged greens are being rinsed with a chemical wash to rid the vegetables of possible harmful pathogens, but we don’t hear of any negative safety issues surrounding the contents of this wash. This is interesting because irradiation of vegetables has been proposed and rejected because of consumer safety concerns. This so-called chemical wash used to clean lettuce, etc. obviously isn’t 100% effective. We are told that irradiation would be very successful at killing possible pathogens that cling to our vegetables.
Irradiation has been used in the medical field and by NASA for several years to provide sterile instruments and safe food. Also referred to as cold pasteurization, irradiation is the process of subjecting food to controlled amounts of radiation in order to kill harmful bacteria present both inside and on the surface of raw and ready-to-eat foods. Irradiation can also kill parasites and small insects, like fruit flies, to reduce spoilage.
Irradiating fresh vegetables would be a much more effective way of ridding these vegetables from potentially harmful pathogenic organisms. The vegetable washes as we have seen come up short in their efforts to kills the harmful bacteria that can be present.
Organic vegetables seem to be the recipient of many recalls presumably because the fertilizer being used is partly animal dung. It seems feasible that the consumer should have a choice between chemical vegetable wash or irradiation when they buy pre-bagged vegetables at the market. Why can’t the consumer make the decision for themselves? Each time we see another mass recall of possible tainted prewashed vegetables, it makes you wonder if you should just chose the hamburger. It just seems that eating healthy is dangerous to your health.