Why You Should Always Wash Leafy Greens, Especially ‘Pre-Washed’


When you purchase bags of pre-washed or triple-washed spinach, do you wash it again?

It might be a good idea, said scientists from the University of California, Riverside at the 250th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society last week.

Previous research shows that, from 2003 to 2008, about 20 percent of singe food outbreaks resulted from leafy green produce. Now, we may know why.

According to this new research, the small peaks and valleys in spinach leaves trap bacteria. This could be a key reason why green leafy vegetables are often involved in bacterial outbreaks.

“We found that because of the topology of the spinach leaf, nearly 15 percent of the surface may ‘see’ a bleach concentration that is 1,000-times less than that of the rinse solution,” co-author Nichola Kinsinger says.

In some cases, that translated to a 90 percent bacterial survival in their tests. And unfortunately, this creates a high risk for cross contamination.

The reason is simple. As the leaves move through the processing facility, any bacteria left on the leaves can grow, spread and contaminate other leaves and surfaces.

“In a sense the leaf is protecting the bacteria and allowing it to spread,” said Kinsinger.

She also notes that scientists estimate that 99 percent of food-borne illnesses from leafy greens can be traced back to disinfection issues. And it’s often the cause of the numerous outbreaks we hear about in the media.

Kinsinger’s recommendation? Even though the United States has one of safest food supply system in the world, it’s still a good idea to rinse those leaves before using them.


How clean is your spinach? Press Release. University of California, Riverside via EurekAlert. Aug 2015.

This article was republished with permission from www.nutri-health.com.

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