NEW YORK (CBS) Consumer reports found that some leafy vegetables recently sold in supermarkets were contaminated with a potentially deadly bacterium. Here's what you need to know.
Consumer Reports tested 284 samples of fresh greens, including lettuce, spinach and kale, sold in supermarkets. They found six of these samples with listeria, a potentially deadly bacterium. Two of the samples were packed and prewashed, the other four were loose heads or bundles.
"Washing does not necessarily remove bacteria," said Trisha Calvo of Consumer Reports. "The bacteria can stick to the leaves and stick in microscopic crevices, so washing does not guarantee that there are no bacteria in a lettuce or green plant."
Calvo says that people at highest risk for complications from Listeria are the elderly, pregnant women and young children. She suggests that they do not eat raw leafy vegetables.
"The safest thing for them is to eat vegetables that they can cook," said Calvo.
The spoiled vegetables were sold to four different grocers in Connecticut, New Jersey and New York in June.
Public health officials have not reported illness or concerns after their own inspections.
Consumer Reports advises no one to abstain from eating leafy vegetables, but wants consumers to pay attention to food safety.
"One thing you can do to protect yourself is to eat them as soon as you buy them," Calvo said. "They do not want to give the bacteria time to grow when they're out in the open."
A trade association representing retailers, wholesalers and suppliers who sell products to grocery stores says, "The incidents described in consumer reports are reminiscent of it. We believe the entire supply chain is responsible for the safe handling of food." [1