published Wednesday, March 3rd, 2010

Braly: Tests of packaged salad mixes show bacteria

Well, wouldn’t you know. Right when things get easy, we find out they’re bad for us. I’m talking about packaged salad mixes. It’s so simple to grab a bag at the store, come home, open and pour it into a bowl. Now, according to this month’s Consumer Reports, tests show that bacteria, including, fecal contamination, was found in packaged leafy greens. Well yuck. But never fear. The FDA is requesting the U.S. Senate act immediately to “pass pending FDA food safety reform legislation that requires the agency to set performance standards as well as develop safety standards for the growing or processing of fresh produce,” according to a news release.

Fat chance that will happen any time soon, unless they can wrap it around the health care bill. Or maybe some of the infected lettuce is served in the senate dining room, something will get done.

Until that happens, here’s what Consumer Reports recommends you do if you purchase packaged greens:

* Buy packages far from their use-by date.

* Wash the greens even if the packages say “prewashed” or “triple-washed.” Rinsing won’t remove all bacteria but may remove residual soil.

* Prevent cross contamination of greens by keeping them away from raw meat and poultry.

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