ready to eatIn our times, it is not easy to find a housewife or a housekeeper who does not use ready to eat foods. Very often we buy frozen vegetables, cut or sliced vegetables, mushrooms or fruits, and so on for cooking our meals. Those who are trying to eat healthy usually use some healthy ways of cooking for such kinds of foods (like baking, grilling, etc.). But what about the products like cut and ready to eat greens: salads, chopped greens, and others? It is not always possible to use heating when cooking those and this way kill all dangerous bacteria. The scientists got interested in this issue and took some samples from pre-cut salad leaves. The findings they’ve received after analyzing the samples were more than shocking: the number of bacteria in per-cut salad turned out to be really huge, making this ready to eat food more dangerous than ready to eat beefburgers.

Moreover, according to the report written by the study leader, Professor Hugh Pennington, a bacteriology specialist at the University of Aberdeen, some types of bacteria found in pre-cut salad leaves are hardly possible to be killed. The researchers found out that radiation can be the only effective technology to destroy these kinds of bacteria, however, it makes salad leaves totally unusable as a food. During the study, the research group analyzed a number of pre-cut and ready to use salads we can commonly find in our grocery stores and markets. Later on, other types of greens like spinach were also analyzed for their content of dangerous bacteria. saladsAfter analyzing all the data collected during the tests, the researchers came to the conclusion that the most dangerous and the most varied bacteria can be found in special mixed salad leaves that are very often used for salads in many homes of our country. Moreover, such mixtures are widely used in many restaurants and public catering establishments.

The study was sponsored by the British Health Protection Agency and took place as a response to the epidemics of Cryptosporidium infections which took place last year in some cities of Scotland and England. During just one month, about 300 people were hospitalized with the above mentioned diagnosis. Moreover, these were not the first signs of danger hidden between the leaves of ready to use pre-cut salads. In 2011, Dole company, one of the largest and the most famous producer of canned and frozen foods, had to recall their bagged pre-cut salad from all the shops and markets in 10 states of the US since the amounts and the quality of bacteria found in salad packs evoked serious concern about the health of the consumers. In the same year, similar situation took place in Germany when over 2,000 people got infected and 22 people died as a result of an outburst of E.coli infection coming supposedly from ready to use products from a local bean sprout farm and selling its products to the north regions of the country.

Before starting the current research, the expert team studied the tragedy in Germany very closely.  “My understanding is that this farm in Germany was an organic one and there are more risks with organic food. For example organic chicken has more bugs than non-organic because they spend longer in the field and have wild bird droppings on them etc.,” the study leader said. He commented on their findings and tried to calm down the customers saying that using ready to eat and even pre-cut vegetables or fruits is safe if those are cooked by using traditional technologies like baking or grilling. However, using these kinds of product in their raw form is really linked to danger. As the study has shown, bacteria comes to the salad leaves directly from the soil and it is impossible to get rid of the at the kitchen, sometimes even by using steaming. Avoid buying and using pre-cut greens, and make sure to purchase only high quality grocery for your meals, preferably 100 per cent organic products.

Author Info: Hi! My name is Carla and I am a 5th year medical student at HYMS. I am interested in alternative medicine and I have done months researching the topic of herbal medicine. Besides, I like interviewing people and learning more about their experiences with one or another type of herbal treatments. I am willing to contribute to this site with my knowledge, and I would be happy to help you out to the best of my ability with any specific questions or problems related to alternative medicine.

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