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Leafy Greens: Stay Green, Stay Safe!

Leafy greens like lettuce, spinach, and rocket are beloved salad staples in the UK, but they can sometimes harbor unwelcome guests like E. coli, Salmonella, and Listeria. While these bacteria rarely lead to serious illness, understanding the risks and taking precautions can ensure your next salad is safe and delicious

UK Contamination Cases:

The UK hasn't been spared from leafy green-related outbreaks. In 2019, an E. coli O26 outbreak traced back to pre-washed salad sandwiches caused over 30 illnesses across the country. More recently, in 2022, over 250 people fell ill due to an E. coli O157 strain potentially linked to salad. These instances highlight the importance of food safety practices.

Protecting Your Plate:

Fortunately, minimising risk is simple:


Wash again: Even pre-washed greens benefit from a quick rinse under running water to remove any remaining bacteria.

Chill out: Store your leafy greens in a clean, airtight container in the refrigerator. Remember, cooler temperatures slow bacterial growth.

Cook it up: If you're particularly concerned or using greens past their prime, consider cooking them. Heating effectively eliminates many harmful bacteria.

Check dates: Always discard greens past their "use by" date, as the

risk of contamination increases with age.


Additional Tips:

· Remember, washing your hands often is crucial while handling any food, including leafy greens.


· Be mindful of preparing salads close to raw meat or poultry to avoid cross-contamination.


· If you're unsure about the origin or safety of your greens, err on the side of caution and cook them.

By following these simple steps, you can enjoy the health benefits of leafy greens while safeguarding yourself and your loved ones from potential foodborne illness. Remember, a little awareness goes a long way in keeping your salad bowl safe and satisfying.


To learn more and to find out about the courses available call Sue Richardson

01892 524957 or email


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