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Leafy Green Vegetables Leading Source of Food Poisoning

Posted Feb 03 2013 4:20pm


A new study from the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that leafy greens, such as lettuce and spinach, are the leading source of food poisoning in the United States.

About 48 million Americans become sick from food poisoning each year, sending 128,000 to the hospital and causing about 3,000 deaths. Of the 48 million cases, about 20% were linked to leafy greens.  
By now you probably know that I am one of the biggest fans of spinach. Don't get me wrong, kale and collard greens and all the others are great, but I jut love spinach. So this news could be pretty worrying if you are like me and try to get most of your daily vegetable sources from greens.

However, it is important to note that the biggest killer among food-poisoning incidents was not leafy greens, but poultry. Between 1998 and 2008, 277 people died from eating tainted poultry, compared to 236 vegetable-related deaths. 
While that's not a considerable difference, at least it shows that there are multiple kinds of food that cause food poisoning in about the same amount as leafy greens.
So why am I telling you this? To get you off greens? Hell no. Greens contain a ton of fiber, vitamins, and minerals and incorporating them in your diet is one of the nest ways to stay healthy. But for those of us that drink a lot of green shakes, or make salads from pre-packaged greens, it is important to be vigilant and still thoroughly wash your greens before you eat them. I know, I know, what's the point of buying it packaged then, right?
Leafy vegetables are pretty difficult to thoroughly wash because they have all these tiny crevices and corners in the veins of the leaves. I know a lot of people (a.k.a West Africans) who chop the greens before they wash them, and then use some salt and really scrub. 
I mean like really really scrub. 
While that is probably a great way to get the greens clean, it may also cause you to lose a lot of the nutrients with the intense scrubbing action. And then you'd see like a whole bunch of leaves reduced to just pulp :( I would rather suggest thoroughly rinsing them whole with vinegar or salt before you chop them up (if you are chopping them up). This way, you get quantity and a good quality rinse :)
Oh, and while you are at it, thoroughly wash your meat and poultry too. Bacteria lurks in and around our food so it is essential to be very careful.
Cheers Eights & Weights!
Photo credit: Foxnews.com
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