Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Is The Salad Bar Safe? Produce Concerns Linger After Summer Scares

Date:
September 29, 2008
Source:
University of Missouri-Columbia
Summary:
Widespread reports had most people afraid to eat tomatoes this summer and when tomatoes were vindicated, eating peppers became a fear. A food safety expert says there is only so much that can be done to assure produce is safe to eat.

Widespread reports had most people afraid to eat tomatoes this summer and when tomatoes were vindicated, eating peppers became a fear. Unless you use scalding hot water, you don’t effectively kill the bacteria when rinsing produce.
Credit: iStockphoto/Larysa Dodz

Widespread reports had most people afraid to eat tomatoes this summer and when tomatoes were vindicated, eating peppers became a fear. A University of Missouri food safety expert says there is only so much that can be done to assure produce is safe to eat.

Related Articles


“We basically want perfect food, but produce is not sterile,” said Andrew Clarke, associate professor of food science in the MU College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources. “We all have a risk of consuming something that doesn’t agree with us. There is no way to keep everything we eat 100 percent risk-free. Some people, who might be more susceptible, may get sick.”

Any food could potentially contain bacteria, according to Clarke, who also is an MU Extension state specialist. His best advice is to keep produce cold, wash hands before handling, and wash all surfaces to eliminate cross-contamination. Another alternative is to cook all produce.

“We like our fresh produce, and we don’t want to cook or can everything,” Clarke said. “Contamination could happen 1,000 miles away because someone didn’t wash his or her hands. A home isn’t a sterile environment either, so something can happen to contaminate produce in your own home. Hopefully, if you are healthy whatever contamination that might be present will not harm you.”

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, 76 million cases of food-borne illness occur each year. More than 325,000 people are hospitalized, and 5,000 die from food-borne illness.

The advice for cooking items, such as meat, is more clear-cut. Washing and rinsing may sound too simple to be effective, but Clarke says it is the best defense against bacteria on produce. Washing with water will not eliminate everything; however, he does not recommend using soap or rinsing with hot water.

“Unless you use scalding hot water, you don’t effectively kill the bacteria when rinsing produce,” Clarke said. “I don’t think using soap is a good idea because you don’t want to start consuming traces of soap. Anytime you wash the surface of produce, you can still miss bacteria that are microscopically embedded because it isn’t always on the surface. It’s like a pothole in the road. Someone could scrub the street with soap and water and rinse, but the material that fills the pothole is still there.”

Clarke advises using common sense when deciding if a food has gone bad or is still good enough to eat.

“If it looks bad, smells bad, tastes bad, don’t eat it! It’s not worth giving to the dog either unless you want to end up taking the dog to the vet,” Clarke said.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Missouri-Columbia. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Missouri-Columbia. "Is The Salad Bar Safe? Produce Concerns Linger After Summer Scares." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 29 September 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/09/080922135233.htm>.
University of Missouri-Columbia. (2008, September 29). Is The Salad Bar Safe? Produce Concerns Linger After Summer Scares. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/09/080922135233.htm
University of Missouri-Columbia. "Is The Salad Bar Safe? Produce Concerns Linger After Summer Scares." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/09/080922135233.htm (accessed November 24, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Monday, November 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Ebola-Hit Sierra Leone's Late Cocoa Leaves Bitter Taste

Ebola-Hit Sierra Leone's Late Cocoa Leaves Bitter Taste

AFP (Nov. 23, 2014) The arable district of Kenema in Sierra Leone -- at the centre of the Ebola outbreak in May -- has been under quarantine for three months as the cocoa harvest comes in. Duration: 01:32 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Anglerfish Rarely Seen In Its Habitat Will Haunt You

Anglerfish Rarely Seen In Its Habitat Will Haunt You

Newsy (Nov. 22, 2014) For the first time Monterey Bay Aquarium recorded a video of the elusive, creepy and rarely seen anglerfish. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Birds Around the World Take Flight

Birds Around the World Take Flight

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Nov. 22, 2014) An imperial eagle equipped with a camera spreads its wings over London. It's just one of the many birds making headlines in this week's "animal roundup". Jillian Kitchener reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) Researchers in Beijing discovered a gene called 5-HTA1, and carriers are reportedly 20 percent more likely to be single. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins