I’ll admit it. A bagged salad can seem like a godsend on a busy night.
And that’s especially true if you’re preparing a big family meal or having company over and are desperate for another easy side dish.
But this is one shortcut you don’t want to take as the feds recently announced YET ANOTHER salad recall.
This time, it’s the Fresh Express Sunflower Crisp Chopped Salad Kits that are now linked to at least eight E. coli infections across three states.
The kits contain romaine lettuce, the subject of still another more widespread recall over E. coli. But that’s where it gets complicated. You see, the strain of bacteria in the new infections is entirely different from the one in the other romaine recall, which has sickened dozens.
So while it COULD be the romaine… it also might NOT be the romaine. And while it COULD be limited to this one salad blend, it also might NOT be limited at all.
It’s enough to make you feel like YOU’RE the one stuck in a salad spinner.
Bag the bagged salad and veggies
There are two steps you can take to cut your risk and protect both yourself and your family.
- Avoid all romaine. There’s just too much bad news about this green right now.
- Avoid all bagged salads and veggies because they’re NOT as healthy as you think.
A bagged salad may not be processed the way a Dorito or a TV dinner is, but it’s still processed. It’s picked, sent to a big chopper, rinsed, mixed with other stuff from other choppers, and tossed into a bag.
Sure it might be healthier than a candy bar or a bag of chips. But only if you don’t get sick.
Because let’s face it, that’s a lot of steps between the farm and your dining table. And the more steps there are, the more likely it is that your veggies could come into contact with something germy… be in people or machines… along the way.
Some people think “washing” a bagged salad or other convenience veggies will help. But it won’t.
Because “washing” veggies, for the most part, is actually just rinsing them. And if E. coli bacteria are clinging to your lettuce leaves, no amount of rinsing will get them off.
Homemade is HEALTHIER
You don’t have to avoid all salad greens, of course. Just romaine lettuce and anything else in a bag.
Make your own salads from fresh, whole, organic veggies instead. Ideally, they should come from local sources whenever possible, instead of distant Big Ag facilities.
Besides, many bagged salads aren’t nearly as healthy as they appear anyway. But for a whole different reason than contamination.
Most include salad dressings, which are often a hidden source of sugar (especially high-fructose corn syrup). Plus, they’re also loaded with junk sodium, artificial flavors, preservatives, and coloring agents. And don’t forget the croutons and candied nuts you find in so many of them too.
Make a fresh salad and top it with your own homemade dressings instead. The most basic one is also the healthiest and one of the tastiest. Just mix together a couple of tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil and add a splash of balsamic vinegar. You can toss in a few sprinkles of your favorite spices if you like too.
Skip the junk toppings that are so common in bagged salad and pick out some healthier toppings instead. Get creative and add things like peppers, avocados, olives, apple slices, and tangerine segments, and you’ll never miss the junk.