CDC estimates that germs on produce eaten raw cause a large percentage of U.S. foodborne illnesses.Other harmful germs found on leafy greens include norovirus, Salmonella, Listeria, and Cyclospora.People who have health problems or take medicines that lower the body’s ability to fight germs and sickness (a weakened immune system) external icon.To reduce your chance of getting sick, always follow the steps for safely handling and preparing leafy greens before eating or serving them.Always follow the steps for safely handling and preparing leafy greens before feeding them to pets and other animals.Studies show that this step removes some of the germs and dirt on leafy greens and other vegetables and fruits.What other food safety steps should I keep in mind when I select, store, and prepare leafy greens and other produce?Make sure pre-cut produce, such as bagged salad or cut fruits and vegetables, is refrigerated or on ice at the store.Separate produce from raw meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs in your shopping cart, grocery bags, and refrigerator.Store leafy greens, salads, and all pre-cut and packaged produce in a clean refrigerator with the temperature set to 40°F or colder.Use separate cutting boards and utensils for produce and for raw meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs.Wash utensils, cutting boards, and kitchen surfaces with hot, soapy water after each use.Cook thoroughly or throw away any produce that touches raw meat, poultry, seafood or their juices.Germs that make people sick can be found in many places, including in the soil, in the feces or poop of animals, in refrigerators, and on kitchen surfaces.For example, germs from animal poop can get in irrigation water or fields where theexternal icon vegetables grow.Germs can also get on leafy greens in packing and processing facilities, in trucks used for shipping, from the unwashed hands of food handlers, and in the kitchen.To prevent contamination, leafy greens should be grown and handled safely at all points from farm to fork.Read a study by CDC and partners on what we have learned from 10 years of investigating E. coli outbreaks linked to leafy greens.In 2014–2018, a total of 51 foodborne disease outbreaks linked to leafy greens (mainly lettuce) were reported to CDC.Most recently, in 2019–2021, CDC investigated and warned the public about nine multistate outbreaks linked to leafy greens.All kinds of produce, including organic leafy greens, can be contaminated with harmful germs at any point from farm to fork.Leafy greens grown using these methods also can be contaminated with harmful germs at any point from farm to fork.CDC is collaborating with FDA, academia, and industry to investigate the factors that contribute to leafy greens contamination.The leafy greens industry, FDA, and state regulatory authorities have been implementing provisions of the Produce Safety Ruleexternal icon as part of the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA).external icon They are considering what further measures can be taken.
Leafy greens were linked to 40 E. coli outbreaks in a decade. Most
Leafy greens are a common culprit of foodborne illnesses, with the produce linked to 40 outbreaks of a serious strain of E. coli from 2009 to 2018, a report published Wednesday in the journal Emerging Infectious Diseases finds.The decade of outbreaks, which occurred in the United States, Canada or both countries, accounted for 1,212 illnesses, 420 hospitalizations and eight deaths, according to the report.A total of 77 cases of hemolytic uremic syndrome, a kidney problem that requires hospitalization, were also attributed to the outbreaks.There are several reasons why leafy greens are particularly susceptible to E.
coli contamination, starting with how the crops are cultivated, Benjamin Chapman, a professor and food safety specialist at North Carolina State University, said."The vast majority of lettuce production is outside and requires a lot of water," Chapman, who wasn't involved with the report, said in an email.Produce is triple-washed in processing plants, and in the home, a person may be able to rinse off "90 to 99 percent of what's there, but that may not be enough depending on how much" contamination there is, he added. .
Is it safe to eat romaine lettuce or kale?
Recent recalls of leafy greens, key ingredients in a healthy diet, have made the issue of food safety impossible to ignore.Last month, confirmed cases of E. coli-related illness in Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick and several U.S.
states were traced to romaine lettuce harvested in California.While cooking vegetables (and meat) can kill harmful bacteria, many leafy greens are eaten raw, making them especially vulnerable.People can become infected by Listeria bacteria by eating contaminated fresh produce, deli meats, refrigerated pâté, undercooked meat, poultry and fish, refrigerated smoked seafood and unpasteurized dairy products including soft and semi-soft cheeses (e.g. brie, Camembert, blue-veined cheese).Symptoms of Listeria poisoning can begin a few hours after eating a contaminated food or as long as one month afterward and include fever, muscle aches, nausea and diarrhea.The recent outbreak of E. coli infections tied to romaine lettuce has been traced to romaine lettuce harvested in California’s Central Coast growing regions – Monterey, San Benito, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Santa Cruz and Ventura.The Public Health Agency of Canada has implemented new actions to ensure that romaine lettuce is not imported from affected growing regions in California.Additional handling could introduce bacteria from your hands, the cutting board, the sink or nearby raw foods.If packaged salad greens are not labelled “prewashed” or “ready to eat;” wash them thoroughly under cold running water just before you intend to use them. .
E. coli and food safety
Although most types of E. coli bacteria are harmless, certain strains can cause serious foodborne illness.To protect yourself from E. coli infection and other foodborne illnesses, follow basic food safety guidelines:.Wash your hands, utensils and kitchen surfaces with hot, soapy water before and after preparing or eating food.Beef, pork, lamb and veal steaks, chops and roasts: 145 F (63 C). .
Kale Recall: Bagged Greens Recalled in 10 States Due to Possible
Baker Farms discovered the issue on September 15, when a consumer notified the company that a kale product tested positive for listeria bacteria.Symptoms of invasive listeriosis, which usually come on about one to four weeks after eating contaminated food, can include confusion, a stiff neck, loss of balance, and convulsions, in addition to fever and muscle aches, according to the CDC.If you do have a recalled product, Baker Farms recommends that you throw it out or return it to the store where you bought it for a full refund, as well as contact the company with any questions. .
Why deadly E. coli loves leafy greens
A total of 121 people from 25 US states have become ill from E. coli contamination linked to romaine lettuce between March 13 and April 21, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Wednesday.In the current outbreak, 52 of the 102 patients who have been interviewed by public health officials have been hospitalized, including 14 who developed a type of kidney failure called hemolytic uremic syndrome.This "tends to cause more severe illness, which may explain why there is a high hospitalization rate," the CDC said in its outbreak investigation update.Between 1998 and 2016, there were 45 outbreaks associated with Shiga toxin-producing E. coli in leafy vegetables reported in the United States, CDC spokeswoman Brittany Behm said.In the new outbreak, the investigation revealed that several people in an Alaska correctional facility who became sick had consumed romaine lettuce sourced from Harrison Farms of Yuma, Arizona."Any commercially grown lettuce product will be put through some basic wash step before it's sold," Noble explained.The E.
coli testing is based on the Food Safety Modernization Act, a set of regulations enacted in the US in August 2015 that requires growers with a certain size farm to sample water associated with produce, Noble said.Though these monitoring programs measure the total volume of E. coli in the water, it might not take a high number of bacteria to make someone sick, since the Shiga toxin-producing strains can be potent, Noble said.
New CDC report details 'novel' foods that have led to E. coli
But, a new, rather scary, report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention details a host of “novel” food vehicles that have led to outbreaks with pathogens such as E.coli and salmonella.Some of the most worrisome novel vehicles include flour, sugar and spices, because these are foods you really can’t wash to get rid of bacteria.Dunavan points to the outbreak on the list that was traced to pomegranates that were part of a frozen mix of fruits gathered from around the world and sold at Costco as a good example.“Freezing doesn’t kill salmonella or norovirus or various other viruses.” Listeria can also be present in frozen fruits and vegetables used to make smoothies.“The positive side is that a lot of people were able to get vaccinated against hepatitis A before they got sick because the virus has a long incubation period.”.The signs include “serious nausea, vomiting and diarrhea — more than five to six times in a day —and having trouble keeping fluids down,” Sears said.“These include numbness, tingling, feelings of paralysis,” she said, adding that these sorts of symptoms should also send you to the doctor. .
Consumer Reports: E. coli risks from leafy greens like romaine
Last month, the CDC announced that an outbreak of E. coli linked to lettuce appears to have ended, but not before 167 people from 27 different states became sick.If you're trying for a healthy diet, you're probably eating plenty of nutrient-rich leafy greens.Between 2006 and 2019, greens like romaine, spinach, and bags of spring-mix were responsible for "at least 46 national outbreaks" of E.
coli, causing many hospitalizations and even some deaths.Consumer Reports says that for most people, the nutritional benefits far outweigh the potential contamination risks.Not everyone who is exposed to Salmonella or E.coli gets sick, but for people who are most vulnerable, that includes pregnant women, older adults, infants and young children, and anyone with a compromised immune system, they should carefully consider whether to eat raw greens. .