Recommendations for Handling Fresh-cut Leafy Green Salads by Consumers and Retail Foodservice Operators

Mary S. Palumbo, James R. Gorny, David E. Gombas, Larry R. Beuchat, Christine M. Bruhn, Barbara Cassens, Pascal Delaquis, Jeffrey M. Farber, Linda J. Harris, Keith Itoto, Michael T. Osterholm, Michelle Smith, Katherine M.J. Swanson

Biblographic citation: Food Protection Trends, vol. 27, no. 11, pp. 892-898, Nov 2007

Volume 27, Issue 11: Pages 892–898

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A panel of scientists with expertise in microbial safety of fresh produce was convened to review recent research and re-evaluate guidelines for foodservice and restaurant operators, regulatory agencies with oversight over food facilities, and consumers for handling prewashed bagged salads. The guidelines developed by the panel, together with materials reviewed by the panel to develop the guidelines, are presented. The background materials reviewed include published research and recent recommendations made by other authoritative sources. The panel concluded that leafy green salad in sealed bags labeled "washed" or "ready-to-eat" that are produced in a facility inspected by a regulatory authority and operated under cGMPs, does not need additional washing at the time of use unless specifically directed on the label. The panel also advised that additional washing of ready-to-eat green salads is not likely to enhance safety. The risk of cross contamination from food handlers and food contact surfaces used during washing may outweigh any safety benefit that further washing may confer.

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