In my household, there’s an ongoing argument about whether bagged salad can be eaten straight from the bag, or whether it should be washed first, or why did we buy this bag of salad instead of more beer. When not championing beer, I’ve always come down on the don’t-bother-washing side, but I might finally agree to change my food prep habits after this recent Consumer Reports study that says 39% of bagged salads are contaminated with bacteria.
The magazine recently tested 200 samples of pre-washed salad in bags and plastic clamshells, and found 39% of the samples contained coliform bacteria, and 23% had enterococcus bacteria. That second one is an indication of fecal contamination. The worst culprits were samples that contained spinach, and samples that were within 1 to 5 days of their “sell by” date. On the plus side, no E. coli or salmonella was found.
The woman in this CBS Healthwatch clip suggests keeping the salad cold to retard bacterial growth, and of course rinsing all pre-washed greens at home before serving. You might also want to avoid buying salads that are bumping up against their sell-by date, especially if they contain spinach.
A warning to the anti-ad crowd: the clip is front-loaded with a commercial.