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Avoiding pre-cut salad may protect you from Salmonella

Harold Mandel's picture

Researchers say that growth of Salmonella may be encouraged by pre-cut salad.


Eating salad regularly can help you avoid being overweight while protecting you from heart disease and cancer. However to enjoy the health benefits of salad it is certainly important to avoid food poisoning. Researchers have recently said that pre-cut salad may be associated with an increased risk for Salmonella.

Growth of Salmonella may be linked in pre-cut salad

The American Society for Microbiology reports that the growth of Salmonella may be linked in pre-cut salad. Researchers at the University of Leicester have demonstrated that small amounts of damage to salad leaves which are in bagged salads actually encourage the growth of Salmonella enterica.

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Furthermore, juices which are released from damaged salad leaves also enhance the ability of Salmonella to attach to the plastic container of the salad. The researchers investigated salad juices in water in order to mimic the environment of the salad bag and found that movement of Salmonella bacteria was significantly increased therefore aiding colonization of salad leaves. Formation of biofilms was also stimulated by salad juices. Biofilms cling strongly to surfaces and are hard to wash off.

Crops of salad leaves are generally grown in open fields where they can be exposed to Salmonella

Crops of salad leaves are generally grown in open fields where insects, manure and bird droppings can expose them to Salmonella. Although Salmonellosis due to such contamination is not common, this is nevertheless a public health concern. Outbreaks of Salmonellosis are sometimes seen even when good practices are implemented to curtail the problem, such as good hygiene, clean water, and leaf washing.

Grocery stores regularly sell pre-prepared salads. Salads are also served this way in fast food places and on airlines. There have not been many studies to investigate what the behavior of Salmonella is in ready-to-eat bagged salad. These researchers wanted to investigate what occurs to Salmonella which are in a bag of salad in order to develop a better understanding of the risks to consumers. The researchers want to determine ways to lower the risk of Salmonella persisting and growing when it finds it's way into salad which is bagged.

This study has been published in the journal Applied and Environmental Microbiology. Researchers have found that exposure to salad leaf juice may enhance the presence of Salmonella found on salad leaves. Clearly aggressive measures are necessary to ensure the microbiological safety of fresh salad. Consumers should keep this in mind when deciding what type of salad to choose.