The salad is undoubtedly one of the most consumed vegetables, an excellent side dish and a real protagonist of the “salads” in the summer season. For convenience, there are those who buy it already washed in the bag, although it is now known that this variant is more “expensive”, both for our wallet and for the environment. But in terms of nutrients and food safety is it the same as loose salad?
To answer this question is a test conducted by the magazine The Lifebuoy who compared the loose salad with the one already washed, cut and packaged.
Despite the convenience and practicality of use, the ready-made salad in a bag still leaves the most attentive consumers perplexed. We are not just talking about a much higher price than that of the loose salad (even 329% more according to the Ismea report), nor about the use of plastic for packaging (a clear disadvantage on an environmental level). Many also wonder if the packaged salad has the same nutritional properties as the head and if it is really safe and free of microorganisms.
An Italian research a few years ago, for example, had come to the conclusion that many microorganisms and bacteria can be present in already cut and packaged salads, while another study questioned the vitamin content. Read also: What is hidden inside salads in bags: Italian research
To clarify The Lifebuoy commissioned the Maurizi group laboratories to carry out a test capable of highlighting the differences between 3 loose salad samples (organic lettuce bought at the market) and 3 of salad already wrapped – IV range (organic baby lettuce bought at the supermarket).
For each sample the nutritional values and the microbiological risk were assessed, the latter concerned various microorganisms that can contaminate the salad such as Salmonella, Listeria monocytogenes, Escherichia coli and Enterobacteria.
Regarding the microbiological risk, the results showed that the salad in the bag was better and was less contaminated than the loose one.
As he writes The Lifebuoy:
From a microbiological point of view, the salad in a bag, as expected, reported better results than the one as it is. The pathogenic microorganisms Listeria monocytogenes and Salmonella spp were not detected in both samples. The bacterial load, enterobacteria and E.coli were detected in concentrations of about 2 orders of measure higher in the whole salad. It can therefore be deduced that ready-to-eat vegetables in bags have a lower incidence of contamination by bacteria and potentially pathogenic microorganisms compared to fresh vegetables, which are not subjected to any washing and treatment before sale and that industrial washing systems guarantee effective reduction of the microbial load making the salad in a “cleaner” bag.
What were the differences in terms of nutritional values, vitamins and minerals? Virtually none, according to the test, the values were nearly equivalent with the sole exception of sodium which was much higher in packaged lettuce (which, explains the magazine, may depend on the soil, fertilizers or water used for irrigation. ).
In short, this experiment promotes salads in bags. However, we continue to advise you not to buy them (except in case of need) for many good reasons that we have already explained to you in the following article:
The loose salad is much cheaper and more sustainable, we only pay attention to wash it well.
For the complete test results you can purchase the latest issue of The Lifebuoy.
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Source: Il Salvagente