Update: Food Safe Guru – Should you buy bagged salad?

Posted on August 17, 2013 by

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I bought bagged salad today with mixed feelings. Yes, it’s convenient, and it is a quick dinner especially since lobsters in Massachusetts are so inexpensive or I could by canned lobster.  Last time, I bought the Fresh Express bagged salad, it turned brown well before the expiration date. I am trying bagged salad again tonight. I am nervous about Cyclospora. Nebraska and Iowa have the culprit, Taylor Farms bagged salad. It wasn’t retail, it was from two restaurants. It could  be a retail bagged salad, we just don’t know. That is the source of my frustration.

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I always give great thoughts to the BU Journalism students that I lecture several times a year. They ask if my job impacts what I buy. It sure does. For example, I buy bagged salad. I know it has  its share of recalls, but it is an easy side dish and for the most part healthy. I am to lazy to cut up veggies and put them on a plate. It’s that simple. I know the rationale goes against everything I say. I still think that bagged salad is healthy. Cycospora won’t attack me. I don’t live in the two states that have identified bagged salad as the Cyclospora culprit.
I am not living in a bubble. I want a quick salad. The option is to buy everything, wash it, chop it up and put it in a container. There  is nothing to say that one of the veggies won’t have a problem but I will stand a lesser chance of contracting an illness.
For now, until the vegetable coast is clear, I will stick to my garden or buy something frozen.

Posted August 31, 2012

Bagged salad is easy to open, great on a hot summer day and a super easy dinner. Is it safe to eat?

Let’s see what the experts say. I eat bagged salad and unless I am reporting a bagged salad recall, I will buy the Dole and Fresh Express products. I am careful and if there is a bagged salad recall, I check what’s in my frig.

This week, Fresh Express had a recall of 8,000 cases  of Hearts of Romaine. I have Fresh Express at home but it’s Iceberg Lettuce.

Apparently, I am not alone, a contributor of US Food Safety, Doug Powell, a professor of food safety at  Kansas State University, was quoted on nbcnews.com, “We call it faith-based food safety,”and most of it is faith-based.”

Powell and Christina Bruhn, a researcher in food science and technology at UC Davis, say that while figuring out what fraction of the lettuce may make you sick is a gamble, they still place their bets on the bagged stuff.

“I go to the biggest grocery store I can find,” he said. “They have requirements for what they put on the shelf.”

Even the crisp heads of lettuce in a farmer’s market stall can be suspect, said Powell. They may be fresh and local, but that’s no guarantee of safety.

“The lettuce was sitting swamped in water for days,” he said. “If I go to a farmer’s market, I don’t want to know that it’s lovingly grown. I want to know you’ve taken steps for microbiological safety. If you can’t answer those questions, I don’t want to buy your lettuce.”

 I will take my chances.

Posted in: Family safety