Packaged salads could endanger health
If you are one of those who eats away from home, at work or leaving the gym and looking for healthy options, surely you have chosen more than once the packaged salads that we usually find in different shops. And although nutritionally they can be an adequate alternative, this type of preparations could put in health risk by being source of pathogenic bacteria.
A recent study published by the American Society for Microbiology analyzed the presence of Salmonella in packaged and pre-salted salads, finding that the bacteria grow exponentially in them.
Apparently, it is the juice fired by the cut leaves which favors the growth of this bacterium that can produce a strong gastrointestinal infection as happened in the UK by an outbreak of Salmonella in leafy salad. Even the bacteria grows in pre-packed and packaged salad when refrigerated.
It was also observed that the juice of the leaves of the salad favors the adhesion of the bacteria to the plastic of the container and that the conditions become so resistant to the microorganism that this one remains in the salad even after washing the ingredients.
In addition, a study by scientists at the University of Georgia concluded that storage conditions may not reduce the presence of E. coli, another bacterium that causes severe gastrointestinal infections.
In the latter study, it was observed that the presence of the bacterium in salads with cut leaves and cucumbers in slices stored at 21° C increased faster, whereas cooling them for less time and at lower temperatures could slow the development of this pathogenic bacteria.
Ready-to-eat salads are exposed to different conditions from the harvesting of vegetables to processing, storage and transfer which pose a risk of bacterial contamination and can make packaged salads a health risk.
What to do about it?
If we choose packaged salads to eat out of home with the aim of taking care of health, now, what should I do?
Failure to consume the salads and choose other packaged preparations can represent a worse nutritional quality of the meals, therefore, perhaps it is not the most appropriate option.
The reality is that not all salads are contaminated, but apparently the leaves are the main source of infection of these pathogenic bacteria.
Therefore, to choose salads without green leaves or with these uncut can be an alternative or, to know very well the form of preparation, to buy salads that are elaborated in front of us and that they are not pre-packaged or like another alternative, to elaborate the Salads at home.
If vegetables are properly washed and sanitized before packaging, the chances of them developing pathogenic bacteria are greatly reduced, because without Salmonella or E. coli at first, we will hardly find them later.
So, quitting salads is not an appropriate recommendation because we know that green leaves and other vegetables are essential in a healthy diet, but we can exercise extreme care when choosing and / or elaborate our packaged dishes.