treehugger.com - Consumer Reports has just published an investigation revealing that 39% of the packaged salads tested contained "bacteria that are common indicators of poor sanitation and fecal contamination."
Several industry experts we consulted suggested that for leafy greens, an unacceptable level of total coliforms or enterococcus is 10,000 or more colony forming units per gram (CFU/g) or a comparable estimate. In our tests, 39 percent of samples exceeded that level for total coliforms and 23 percent for enterococcus.
Some samples registered up to1 million CFU/g. Which is a lot of bacteria per gram of greens.
As we know, bacteria are everywhere. They are on our skin and are a part of who we are inside our body, too, and of the time we maintain a symbiotic relationship. Many of us are unaware that our health is directly related to the billions of beneficial microorganisms that live in our gastrointestinal tract. These microorganisms aid the break down and absorbtion of food, make vitamins in our gut, and clean up waste. The microorganisms kill harmful bacteria, viruses, fungi and yeast. "The human body contains 20 times more microbes than it does cells. In fact, a visitor from outer space might think the human race is just one big chain of microbe hotels."1
Just as we are told to wash our hands to stay healthy, we must wash our food. If you buy bagged lettuce be sure that you wash it before you eat it (even if it says prewashed) just as you would an apple or a carrot.Make sure your healthy, normal good bacteria stays in a balanced internal environment. Most of us need to supplement with a good probiotic daily; this is crucial if you have been taking prescription anti-biotics.
1. NPR interview with Debbie Elliot, July 1, 2006. Article Headline