Salmonella Salad

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...avoiding salmonella from supermarket salad

Scientists from the University of Leicester have found that packets of supermarket salads are highly susceptible to encouraging the growth salmonella, with broken salad leaves leaking fluid that can, under certain conditions, increase the growth of salmonella 2,400-fold.

Responding to study, Dawn Rose – Associate Solicitor – explains how consumers can protect themselves from food poisoning from these packets of supermarket salads.

Salmonella Salad Warning

Analysing salad leaves from cos, baby green oak, and red romaine lettuce, as well as spinach and red chard, found that – when in water – juices from broken leaves increased salmonella growth by 110%.

This figure increased to 2,400-fold when the juices from broken leaves was added to a nutrient medium that supported salmonella.

Scientists that took part in the study suggested that the implications of the results affect salad leaf growers, who should ensure that they are maintaining the highest possible food safety standards.

Talking to the Telegraph, the study’s lead scientist explained that, even when refrigerated, tiny amounts of the juice that leach out when salad leaves are cut could cause salmonella to grow in water.

When contaminated leaves are bagged, salmonella cells can attach themselves to other leaves, as well as the plastic packaging in which the prepared salad is stored.

Once salmonella cells are attached to salad leaves, they can be extremely hard to remove, even when the salad is washed.

In a statement, Dr Primrose Freestone said:

“We wanted to investigate what happens to Salmonella in a bag of salad to better understand the potential risks to consumers and inform future research on reducing attachment of this pathogen to salad leaves. This study is part of our ongoing research into ways to reduce the risk of Salmonella persisting and growing when it is present in bagged salad.”

Salad Bags Linked To E. Coli Outbreak

This study will only add to consumers’ concerns about the safety of packets of supermarket salads, as it follows an earlier incident of prepared salads causing an E. coli outbreak that resulted in two deaths.

With the convenience of pre-prepared salads making them increasingly popular amongst consumers, Dawn explains the importance of people following safety guidelines to ensure that the food people are consuming is safe:

“Whilst the NHS advice is that the chances of your salad bag being contaminated are low, it is important to remember that a similar break out of E. coli in the summer – thought to be linked to salad leaves – killed two people and led to another 62 being hospitalised.”

“It is important that consumers are made aware of the risks with regards to pre-prepared salad bag, particularly as consumers tend to view these as convenient, nutritious and healthy options.”

“With salmonella being difficult to remove once present in a bag of salad, salad leaf growers have a responsibility to ensure that they are following proper practice to reduce the chances of contaminated leaves entering a bag.”

“If a salmonella outbreak was linked to a packet of supermarket salad, liability would fall with the supplier, as it is their responsibility to ensure that products are safe being supplying them to consumers.”

“Many consumers do not realise that they could make a compensation claim against the liable party if they suffer from food poisoning, especially if they have to take time off work to recover or if there are long-term complications linked to consuming the contaminated food.”

“Ultimately, this story once again highlights the importance of preparing and storing food in accordance with health and safety guidelines and the necessity of washing hands before handling food.”

Written by Dawn Rose.

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