Top | Sift

Bagging it

(article, Culinate staff)

Remember the Great Spinach Outbreak of 2006? When scores of people fell ill from aggressive E. coli bacteria on salad greens?

Well, Modern Farmer magazine recently explained just how those popular bagged salads make us sick — and sick we are, with bagged greens accounting for a quarter of foodborne illness. 

The short version: Germs in dirt get inside lettuce stems when they're cut in the field, and the washing process used to clean the lettuce doesn't wash out those germs. 

In theory, once the Food Safety Modernization Act goes into effect, new protocols for field management and washing and bagging will cut down on the disease outbreaks. In the meantime, you might want to give bagged salad (and sprouts, which grow with the germs inside them) a pass.