The Food Journal and Food, Nutrition & Science

An alliance between The Lempert Report and The Center for Food Integrity

Pre-washed Produce

Pre-washed Produce

Shoppers and Trends

June 29, 2008

Dear Phil,
Some our customers ask if they should wash things like lettuce and bagged spinach that wear the label “pre-washed,” as many of them still remember the spinach recall in 2006 due to E.Coli contamination. If our customers want their produce to remain as fresh – and safe – as possible, what should I tell them about the additional washing of pre-washed items?
The process of washing lettuce and bagged spinach is thorough and extensive. Produce that is pre-washed is carefully prepared and ready to use when you buy it. Re-washing won’t hurt product quality, however, if consumers do choose to re-wash their pre-washed produce, they run the risk of cross contaminating the produce with other items from their kitchen, like raw meats.
Additionally, residue in the pipes that lead to a kitchen sink will add more bacteria to a product when it is re-washed than simply using it as it. That’s why I think it is best to use the product in the way that was intended. Pre-washing is for convenience, so let your customers know that it is perfectly safe to open and use the bagged products immediately. No re-washing required.
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