Some people in the Midwest have become ill with clyclospora, an intestinal parasite, after eating bagged salads, and it proves once again that Mom knew what she was talking about: “Wash those vegetables before you eat them,” she would say if I pulled a carrot out of the garden and was going to eat it without running the hose over it first.
Bagged salads are convenient, and the vegetables in them generally stay fresh longer than veggies left to get soft in the vegetable drawer of a refrigerator. But you still have to wash them. That’s even though the salads in those bags are washed and dried off at the factory where they are processed and packaged.
But here’s the problem: If the people handling the food didn’t do what their Moms said to do, Little Mr. Cyclospora could find its way into the salad. In other words, wash your hands after going to the bathroom, Mr. or Ms. salad factory worker. Clean up that equipment when you are through with it. If you drop something on the floor, don’t pick it up and put it in the bag of salad.
Contamination of bagged salad doesn’t happen much, even though a lot of bagged salads get used every day. The number is in the millions, especially when you count all the ones used in restaurants.
But getting back to what Mom said: Wash the stuff that comes out of the bag before you eat it. Here’s how I do it: I put the salad I’m going to eat in bowl, then run water into the bowl, emptying the bowl out three or four times while the water is running. Naturally, I keep the salad in the bowl with my (clean) hand. Then, you put the salad into a clean colander and shake it a few times over the sink to drain off the water.
That’s how Mom showed me, and Mrs. Doud hasn’t said I’m doing anything wrong. See what I mean?