Jack, Nashville, TN asked:
What’s the bottom line: Should I wash those ready-to-eat bagged salads from the supermarket?
Don’t bother lathering up your lettuce. “Ready-to-eat salad is sanitized in a way far superior to any cleaning you can do at home,” says Sam Beattie, Ph.D., a food safety specialist at Iowa State University. “It’s washed in water and sanitizers such as chlorine compounds. Then it’s rinsed thoroughly and spun dry — all at cold temperatures.” Actually, if there’s a weak link in keeping prewashed greens clean, it’s you. “A leading cause of foodborne illness in the home is the norovirus, a bug transmitted by human feces on dirty hands,” says Beattie. So before you stick your mitts into that bag of baby romaine, wash them with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds. And don’t ignore your nails–a British study found that 25 percent of men had harmful bacteria crawling under their claws.