Pre-Washed Organics Can be a Problem

Do you love the convenience that goes along with buying your organic fruits and veggies pre-washed and ready to go? Unfortunately, that convenience comes with a significant downside: the potential for foodborne illness.

Taylor Farms, a company based in Salinas, California, has suspended the production of organic lettuce and salad mixes at its Mexican branch, after several people in Iowa and Nebraska became ill with cyclosporiasis, a parasitic stomach illness caused by the ingestion of fecal matter.

Ingesting these parasites usually results in anywhere from a few days to a few months (if untreated) of flu-like symptoms. The Mexican branch of Taylor Farms has also stopped its production of romaine, iceberg and green leaf lettuce, red and green cabbage, and carrots until the facility is thoroughly investigated. Production is being temporarily moved to the United States.

The people who were sickened by cyclosporiasis in Iowa and Nebraska have been connected to the salad mix at their local Red Lobster and Olive Garden restaurants. Other cases of the parasites have been found in over 500 people across 18 states, however, these cases have not been linked to the Taylor Farms salad mix.

What Can We Learn?

The lesson from this unfortunate incident is two-fold. First, be wary of restaurants. If you do not see your food being prepared, how can you fully trust its safety? Just one more reason to cook meals at home. Secondly, no matter how easy and convenient pre-washed veggies are, even if they are organic, take the extra few moments to wash them yourself.

lettuceRinse all produce thoroughly under cold water, and inspect it carefully after rinsing to make sure it is clean. To be extra sure, mix one part white vinegar with three parts purified water in a spray bottle, spray on your produce, and then rinse again. Alternatively, there are safe vegetable wash products you can buy. It is always a good practice to wash produce before eating it.

You don’t want feces in your food, do you?

-The Alternative Daily


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