Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Tainted produce more likely for shoppers in low-income neighborhoods, study suggests

Date:
April 13, 2010
Source:
Health Behavior News Service
Summary:
No one wants a mixed salad tossed with extra bacteria, mold and yeast, but those are just what you might find when you try to eat a healthier diet in poorer neighborhoods. A new study shows that the level of bacteria found on the fresh produce can vary according to the income level of the neighborhoods where it is for sale.

Ready-to-eat salads and strawberries sold in stores in the poorer neighborhoods had significantly higher counts of microorganisms, yeasts and molds than the same products purchased elsewhere.
Credit: iStockphoto/Leonel Bourque

No one wants a mixed salad tossed with extra bacteria, mold and yeast, but those are just what you might find when you try to eat a healthier diet in poorer neighborhoods. A new study shows that the level of bacteria found on the fresh produce can vary according to the income level of the neighborhoods where it is for sale.

Researchers compared levels of bacteria, yeast and mold on identical products sold in six Philadelphia-area neighborhoods. They selected three of the neighborhoods because they had the city’s highest poverty levels. In these, consumer options tended to be small markets that offered less variety in fruits and vegetables.

The result: ready-to-eat salads and strawberries sold in stores in the poorer neighborhoods had significantly higher counts of microorganisms, yeasts and molds than the same products purchased elsewhere, while cucumbers had a higher yeast count and mold and watermelon contained more bacteria.

“Food deteriorates when there is microbial growth,” said study co-author Jennifer Quinlan, a professor of nutrition and biology at Drexel University. “The bacterial count is used to determine the quality of the produce and it was poorer quality, closer to being spoiled. Three of the things that had a higher bacteria count — strawberries, ready-to-go salad and fresh-cut watermelon — have been associated with food-borne illnesses.”

The study appears online and in the May issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

When your access to produce is of inferior quality, it discourages you from adding more fruits and vegetables to your diet. Part of the problem, Quinlan said, is that much of the food available in poorer neighborhoods is for sale in smaller stores that might not have the infrastructure to handle produce in the safest way.

“The food may be of poorer quality to begin with; then it may be transported to the stores and not be refrigerated properly,” she said. “Large supermarkets have entire units focused on food safety, refrigeration, sanitation. While a small facility with only one or two people may not have the resources.”

Although the bacteria that can cause spoilage are not the same bacteria that are dangerous from a standpoint of food-borne illness, consumers can take some important steps to ensure they get the freshest produce.

“One thing consumers can look for is that fresh-cut produce be refrigerated at the point of sale,” said Shelley Feist, executive director of Partnership for Food Safety Education. “When they get fresh produce home, it’s important to clean it thoroughly. Whole fresh produce should be rinsed under running tap water just before eating and produce should be kept separate from meat, poultry, raw eggs and fish to avoid cross-contamination.”


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Health Behavior News Service. The original article was written by Joan Vos MacDonald. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Koro ME, Anandan S, Quinlan JJ. Microbial quality of food available to populations of differing socioeconomic status. Am J Prev Med, 38(5) 2010

Cite This Page:

Health Behavior News Service. "Tainted produce more likely for shoppers in low-income neighborhoods, study suggests." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 13 April 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/04/100409152029.htm>.
Health Behavior News Service. (2010, April 13). Tainted produce more likely for shoppers in low-income neighborhoods, study suggests. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/04/100409152029.htm
Health Behavior News Service. "Tainted produce more likely for shoppers in low-income neighborhoods, study suggests." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/04/100409152029.htm (accessed August 30, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

We've Got Mites Living In Our Faces And So Do You

We've Got Mites Living In Our Faces And So Do You

Newsy (Aug. 30, 2014) A new study suggests 100 percent of adult humans (those over 18 years of age) have Demodex mites living in their faces. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Experimental Ebola Drug ZMapp Cures Lab Monkeys Of Disease

Experimental Ebola Drug ZMapp Cures Lab Monkeys Of Disease

Newsy (Aug. 29, 2014) In a new study, a promising experimental treatment for Ebola managed to cure a group of infected macaque monkeys. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Killer Amoeba Found in Louisiana Water System

Killer Amoeba Found in Louisiana Water System

AP (Aug. 28, 2014) State health officials say testing has confirmed the presence of a killer amoeba in a water system serving three St. John the Baptist Parish towns. (Aug. 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Australian Sheep Gets Long Overdue Haircut

Raw: Australian Sheep Gets Long Overdue Haircut

AP (Aug. 28, 2014) Hoping to break the record for world's wooliest, Shaun the sheep came up 10 pounds shy with his fleece weighing over 50 pounds after being shorn for the first time in years. (Aug. 28) Video provided by AP
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:
from the past week

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