A healthy diet provides the body with adequate fluid, protein, vitamins and minerals. It is low in saturated fat, added sugars and salt. Choose a variety of vegetables (3 to 4 servings a day), especially dark green and orange vegetables, and fruit (2 to 3 servings a day). Choose wholegrain, high cereal fibre varieties of bread and cereals.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — You’ve probably noticed that over the last ten years there have been nearly 80 foodborne disease outbreaks linked to leafy greens. Scary sure. But food experts say you don’t have to give up lettuce.
You just need to take a few precautions.
“We got fresh romaine lettuce. We’re going to take it all apart. So we get every ounce of it nice and clean,” Lindsay Kirtlan with Lindsay’s Kitchen said.
Kirtlan makes about 200 salads every week.
“Restaurants, we don’t set out to make people sick. So we have to do our due diligence to make sure that our customers are well cared for because all we are trying to do is serve the community,” she explained.
“Salad is something that we eat at room temperature. Because it’s not heated, there’s no chance to kill off the bacteria,” said Consumer Reports James Rogers.
Most recent romaine lettuce recalls are linked to E. coli and listeria.
Why and how? That’s tricky to answer – Contamination can happen anywhere from farm to table. Cattle can carry deadly strains of E. coli. Their manure that has the bacteria, can seep into irrigation water and contaminate crops.
No single type of leafy green is risk-free. But hydroponic lettuces, which are greenhouse-grown without soil, are less likely to be contaminated by bacteria from animal droppings.
“Even when leafy greens are grown free of harmful bacteria, contamination can still occur during harvesting, processing, or packaging. That’s why it’s so important you take extra steps to protect yourself,” Rogers added.
Whole heads of lettuce instead of bagged greens might be safer. Whole heads don’t necessarily have lower bacteria levels, but their inner leaves are less exposed to sources of contamination and are handled less than bagged greens.
“Refrigerate bagged lettuce right after you buy it. It won’t prevent foodborne illness but will slow spoilage,” Rogers said.
Buy packages with expiration dates as far in the future as possible. Don’t buy more than you can eat in a few days.
Another idea? Go for leafy greens that can be cooked, like spinach or kale. The heat will kill the bacteria.
This is especially important for people who might be affected more by the effects of food poisoning, like people who are immunocompromised, pregnant or elderly.