Exploring the sense and nonsense of food and health

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Preventing Bacterial Contamination on Produce

A Bacterial Superbug

Food safety is a very important aspect of nutrition education that is often ignored Since most produce is not cooked and eaten raw, it has unfortunately  become a source for bacterial contamination. The article gives some practical advice on how to avoid food poisoning from produce sources.


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Washing Fresh Produce?

English: Romaine lettuce (Lactuca sativa var. ...

English: Romaine lettuce (Lactuca sativa var. longifolia). Français : Laitue romaine (Lactuca sativa var. longifolia). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Fresh produce is one of the most common sources for food-borne illnesses.  Everyone usually washes lettuce but how about other fruits and vegetables?  By the way, it is not recommended to rewash bagged lettuce.  Check out this handy guide.  I buy romaine heads of lettuce instead of bagged lettuce, so you can wash each individual leaf effectively.


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Bagged Salad Mixes – An Update?


Lettuce (Photo credit: photofarmer)

Just when we thought there was some good news about bagged salad mixes (see previous post) , here we go again.  I don’t personally buy bagged salad greens, but it is still very important to wash any kind of lettuce thoroughly even if not pre-mixed.   This time it appears that iceberg and romaine lettuce, carrots, and red cabbage could have been involved.  There may be other sources out there, since the salad greens were only implicated in some of the outbreaks.

In the late 1990’s, a cluster of intestinal disease in the U.S. was linked  to eating imported raspberries from Guatemala contaminated with Cyclospora cayetanesis.  In  2004 and 2005, outbreaks in several states sickened over 400 people after eating raw basil contaminated with the same parasite.   How fresh produce becomes contaminated during outbreaks is not clear. Tainted water used for washing the produce or mishandling by someone whose hands are contaminated during shipping or processing is suspect. Possibly better provisions for hand washing in the fields and in the processing methods may help.


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