Boom in Pre-Washed Salads ‘Will Bring More Poisonings’

Just when you thought you were eating healthier…

The growing popularity of pre-packed salads is likely to lead to an increase in food-poisoning cases, scientists warned today. They also said that while scientists have a role to play in protecting food from contamination, consumers should be aware of the risks.

The comments were made ahead of a discussion in Aberdeen today on research into food contamination.

Led by Imperial College London, the research details how salmonella bacteria are able to contaminate salads.

Professor Gadi Frankel, from Imperial College, said a greater understanding of how salads are contaminated is important because cases of food poisoning are “likely to rise in the future”.

He said recent outbreaks could be specifically related to pre-packed salads, including a salmonella outbreak in the UK last year caused by imported basil and an E-coli outbreak in the United States in 2006 that was traced to pre-packed baby spinach.

He said: “People are eating more salads, choosing to buy organic brands and preferring the ease of ‘pre-washed’ bagged salads from supermarkets, than ever before.

“All of these factors, together with the globalization of the food market, mean that cases of salmonella and E coli poisoning caused by salads are likely to rise in the future.”

He said that a label stating food was pre-washed did not necessarily mean it was safe to eat, and although the risk of poisoning remained low, consumers should make “informed decisions”.

Via The Scotsman