While your fresh salad is probably packed with nutrients, it may also contain some elements that are far less safe.
Most people assume inexpensive, poorly-prepared meat is responsible for most food poisoning cases. However, fresh produce accounts for about half of the 48 million illnesses in the US per year that can be traced to contaminated foods, reports CNNMoney in a recent series called Raw Ingredients.
In widespread outbreaks, produce is typically contaminated in the fields — either through contact with animal feces or human feces from workers relieving themselves, as in a recent case of a contaminated cilantro. However, contamination can occur if someone at any level on the production chain handles produce with contaminated hands.
Washing the produce is the obvious and essential way to eliminate bacteria, leading to the rise of “triple-washed” items. However, unlike most processed food, fresh produce is not always microwaved or cooked — two of the most foolproof methods for killing bacteria. Read more