Bagged Salad Recall Is a Good Excuse to Get Fries Instead

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bagged salad recallMost bagged salads that you find at the supermarket have words on the packaging that read "Pre-washed" or, even better, "Thoroughly Washed." But don't fall prey to this reassuring marketing tactic: Though they may be "clean" in one sense, packaged salads -- like any fresh produce -- are at risk of being contaminated with a dangerous food-borne illness.

In fact, packaged salads have been recalled several times in recent years in connection with outbreaks of food-borne illnesses. The most recent recall involves more than 3,000 cases of various bagged salad blends from Taylor Farms Retail Inc. that were distributed in 15 states and have the potential to be contaminated with salmonella. (For a complete list of the bagged salad brands involved in the recall, check the FDA's website here.)

So if bagged salads are so "dirty," then why in the world do we continue to eat them?

Because they're so convenient, of course! Think about it: Procuring a whole head of lettuce, putting it in the fridge, remembering it's even in there, then washing, drying, and cutting it all up for a salad ... who has the time? We'd rather pay double the price (and sometime even more) to have someone do most of those tasks for us. No matter if we're putting ourselves at risk for food poisoning.

And, to be fair, there's supposedly no proof that bagged salads have a higher risk of illness than a head of lettuce. True, some scientists including ones at the Center for Science in the Public Interest argue that bagged salads are more risky because contaminated leaves can spread bacteria to thousands of other leaves during washing and packaging.

But a spokesperson for FDA pooh-poohed this theory, saying that there's no evidence that bagged salad is any more or less risky than a whole head of lettuce. Eating any lettuce can be risky business because -- like any fresh fruit or vegetable that grows outdoors and close to the ground -- it's particularly susceptible to deadly pathogens like listeria, salmonella, and E. coli. Moreover, cutting fresh produce increases the risk of bacterial growth and contamination by breaking the natural exterior barrier of the produce -- it makes no difference if there's a bag involved or not.

Sheesh. With news as depressing at that, it's little wonder people are skipping salad altogether and eating fries instead.

 

Image via catsper/Flickr

food, food safety

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lehof... lehoffman

I was eating a sandwich containing Taylor Farms lettuce as I read this, luckily mine was not listed on the recall. I'm still a little nervous though.....

jagam... jagamama0710

Well that was close. I have a container of Taylor Organic Baby Spinach. Not on the list. 

nonmember avatar J.J.

I wouldn't just limit yourself to the date they suggest on the bag, 10/18. For the past week, I've been trying to figure out why my stool has been greenish in color. Last Friday I woke up to uncomfortable abdominal pain followed by diarrhea. Ever since, still today, I continue to have green colored stool. I've never had this happen to me before, and I eat a salad every night for years now. I have been eating bags of the Fresh Selection Romain Blend that I bought from a Fry's (Kroger) store in Gilbert, AZ. Dated 10/14 and 10/13. The UPC matches the recall, but not the date. My thinking is that the FDA finally did some testing, but they're not 100% sure how long the Salmonella has been present. They're probably also not thinking that people may still be eating bags prior to the 18th. I don't always throw away food on the best eaten by date, as you can usually go a little longer if refrigerated well and still sealed. I'm going to stop eating this salad entirely and see if the stool returns to normal color over the next few days. I've been reading that Salmonella can last in the body up to 7 days. Just thought I'd throw in my 2 cents. I'm also healthy within my weight range for my height/sex. I've been trying to narrow this "problem" down for the past week and may have just found the answer!

Numom... Numom61507

I want to send this to my mother-in-law and tell her "See? Salad CAN kill you!" Haha

jessi... jessicasmom1

lol ... on the salad can... I do not like bagged lettuce so I am clear of this

Kim Guerin

i wouldn't have too much faith in the FDA to be honest.....better to dump it than end up sick :)

nonmember avatar Maya

I don't understand why people don't/can't wash the salad. I didn't grow up in the US and when i was small my mum would ALWAYS wash salad or any fruit/veggie before consuming it or even before cutting it. It was usually washed with salt water. Especially, if you consume organic you NEED to wash your fruits/veggies.

jagam... jagamama0710

Maya - I do wash my organic veggies, even bagged. Water doesn't kill salmonella though, which is the culprit here.   

xavie... xavierlogan09

I find it funny that a lot of foods being recalled are organic. Like the apple juice and spaghetti o's awhile back. I'm glad I don't pay extra for organic. I never heard of this brand. I buy dole salad mix.

Lisa Moore

I always eat bagged salad I'm too lazy to make my own. Now I'm scared.

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