In the Bag: The Lowdown on Bagged Lettuce

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Screen shot 2012 10 24 at 2.03.16 PM In the Bag: The Lowdown on Bagged LettuceBagged lettuce certainly makes eating salads and other fresh vegetables more convenient. But there is always that nagging question: “should I wash it before eating?”

I’ve visited a couple of the bagged lettuce companies in California and personally feel comfortable eating these products directly from the bag. I don’t think I could wash the produce as well myself.

According to The Partnership for Food Safety Education, rewashing bagged lettuce is not necessary. They maintain, “while it is important to wash most fruits and vegetables, if packaged greens are labeled ready-to-eat, washed, or triple washed, then the product does not need to be washed at home. Pre-washed greens have been through a cleaning process immediately before going into the bag. Re-washing and handling the greens creates opportunities for contamination.”

That last part is especially important. It is possible to contaminate the produce once you leave the grocery store. Sometimes re-washing and handling the lettuce at home can cause more problems than it solves.

More Bagged Lettuce Tips

  • Pay attention to sell-by dates and make sure to use your lettuce before it expires.
  • Buy bags of lettuce that have been kept cold in the store.
  • Refrigerate as soon as possible.
  • Wash your hands, utensils, and counters before handling your greens.
  • Pouring lettuce directly from the bag into salad bowls can help you avoid cross-contamination.

Article and tips by Cheryle Syracuse, MS 

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