Bagged Salad Salmonella Warning
The juice released from bagged salad leaves encourages salmonella growth and can cause significant food poisoning or even death. The bacteria can’t be washed off with water.
Bagged salad is definitely convenient, but it’s just not worth the risk. This has been confirmed by researchers at the University of Leicester and published in the journal Applied and Environmental Microbiology. According to the researchers, “We found that juices released from the cut-ends of the salad leaves enabled the Salmonella to grow in water, even when it was refrigerated — this was a surprise as Salmonella has a temperature preference of 98 degrees F.”
Another interesting finding was that the salad leaf juices enable attachment of the bacteria to the plastic bag and after 5 days, even traces of the juice in salad bag fluids increased the growth of Salmonella 280-fold. What an awful thought! The researchers went on to say “Salad juice exposure also helped the Salmonella cells to attach to the salad leaves so strongly that washing could not remove them. Collectively, this study shows that exposure to even traces of salad leaf juice may contribute to the persistence of Salmonella on salad leaves as well as priming it for establishing an infection in the consumer”.
Salmonella infection can be fatal in people with a compromised immune system or digestive system. It can also cause long term bowel problems. I have had many patients who were never well since a salmonella infection. They developed a bad case of irritable bowel syndrome which had a huge impact on their overall health and quality of life.
Having a healthy gut with adequate levels of good bacteria will reduce your chances of a severe infection, but it’s best to avoid buying bagged salads in the first place. Even when stored in the fridge and washed before consuming, the risk of infection is just too great.