We buy them for convenience and speed of use, but are the salads in bags really safe for our health or should they be washed before being consumed?
The recipe for no-bake porridge
The salads packed in bagsalready washed and ready to use, they represent an easy solution for those who want to introduce more vegetables in their daily diet, but do not have much time to devote to shopping at the market and cleaning fruit and vegetables.
But are these products to be trusted, or is there a real risk of eating something unhealthy? In fact, most of the salad packets in the envelope read “already clean” – yet many people do not trust them and prefer to give the leaves an extra “wash”.
In fact, as claimed by the experts of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), vegetables labeled “already washed” or “ready to eat” can be eaten immediately, without being washed after being taken out of the bag.
This is because the leaves packed in bags are subjected to a triple industrial washcarried out immediately after harvesting, which aims to eliminate traces of soil but also any bacteria present in the soil.
Handling on our part, through incorrect washing, could have an even harmful effect, leading to the contamination of a product that was already clean.
(Read also: Salads in bags: pay attention to these details on the packaging when buying them)
The case in which we notice the presence of a is different yellowish liquid at the bottom of the bag: This is the liquid that is released from damaged and spoiled salad leaves, especially if the product was packaged several days before purchase.
The rotten leaves have allowed the proliferation of bacteria that can contaminate the entire contents of the bag and that can pose a risk to our health. Therefore, if we notice the presence of liquid, first of all make sure that the undamaged leaves have not gone bad.
We do a quick quality control. Let’s first check the smell when opening the package: if there is a rancid smell, it is better to throw the whole package away. We then check the color of the leaves and the consistency of the same to assess whether they are worth eating.
In this case, washing the salad is not an option to be neglected, but how to do it right? Before proceeding with cleaning the salad, make sure you have thoroughly washed your hands and the surfaces that will come into contact with the vegetables, to minimize bacterial contamination.
Also read: This is the best natural disinfectant for washing vegetables or salad (and it’s not baking soda)
Why shouldn’t we buy salad in a bag
The salad packed in plastic bags can represent an occasional choice, dictated by haste or by a specific need, but it cannot become a habit. In fact, there are numerous points against the wrapped salad that should push us to purchase a fresh product:
- The cost. A 250-gram packet of salad costs the same as a pound of fresh lettuce.
- Bacterial contamination. Even if carefully washed mechanically, a single rotten leaf is enough to contaminate the entire contents of the bag, with the risk of having to throw the whole salad away.
- The nutritional properties. Wrapped salads quickly lose vitamins and minerals, thus becoming poor from a nutritional point of view.
- The plastic. It is useless to reiterate the waste of plastic material used to package the salad leaves, which could be saved by choosing a loose product.
The replica of the IV Gamma Group of Unione Italiana Food
Following the publication of our article, the IV Range Group of Unione Italiana Food – which represents the companies operating in the IV Range sector – has sent us some clarifications on washed and ready-to-use vegetables:
Price: the cost of fresh-cut products cannot be equated with that of first-range fruit and vegetables. These are different products, as the IV range is one of the products immediately ready for consumption. Its cost, therefore, is justified by the high service value, by the technological processes at the base of their preparation and by the accurate systems for verifying the hygienic-sanitary and conservation parameters. Furthermore, it is a net cost, as there is no waste. The IV range product, being already cleaned, washed and portioned, is “zero waste”, as the contents of the package are available for consumption in its entirety, without waste.
From the point of view nutritional, fresh-cut vegetables are comparable to first-range vegetables. The inevitable losses of nutrients compared to freshly picked fruit and vegetables, linked to the processing of fresh-cut products – lower than those deriving from the “do-it-yourself” storage and washing of first-range fruit and vegetables – do not however preclude their quality and usefulness within a healthy and balanced diet as a possible minimal loss of minerals or vitamins does not affect the nutritional quality. Furthermore, the main role of plant products is above all to provide fiber, water and volume, all elements capable of lowering the energy density of the diet and which are particularly useful in a society affected by food problems due to the enormous availability of calories and nutrients. Finally, it must be borne in mind that the availability of fresh ready-to-eat vegetables facilitates the use of vegetables and fruit in the diet of an increasing number of people who, for various reasons, would do without them if they were to prepare them by buying first-rate vegetables. .
From the point of view of sustainabilityit should be emphasized that the IV range products:
guarantee food safety. The quality and safety from the hygienic point of view of fresh-cut fruit and vegetables are ensured through careful washing and drying. The IV range companies associated with Unione Italiana Food, with the aim of certifying and guaranteeing food safety, every year carry out thousands of checks on the entire production chain in addition to the multiple and continuous official checks by the bodies in charge: the resulting overall picture is of a safe product. Italy at European level represents one of the excellences on the international market, excellence recognized and demonstrated by the quantity of products sold in Italy and exported.
They reduce food losses and waste. The IV range product, being already cleaned, washed and portioned, is “zero waste”, as the contents of the package are available for consumption in its entirety, without waste. Furthermore, production waste is 100% reused, mainly for animal feed, in a perfectly circular perspective, without therefore being thrown away as happens instead in the case of cleaning first range products. From the point of view of consumption, companies continuously invest in technological innovation aimed at making production processes more efficient by continuously reducing the need for water and energy. In any case, the business process is considerably more efficient than the domestic one; for example, the industrial washing process consumes about 90% less water than the domestic one, for the same product.
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