Germany: Investigation in ready-to-eat salads yields distasteful results

Are ready-to-eat salads really that healthy, or do they actually contain more pathogens than vitamins? German television network RTL had samples tested in a lab – with distasteful results. Freshly cut melons, pineapples, raspberries and salads: a reporter bought 13 different dishes in 3 different stores, among them retailer Rewe. Several items immediately revealed themselves not to be fresh at all.

The samples were taken to a lab, where biologist dr. Catrin Bleul examined them for bacteria, fungi, salmonella and listeria. The results shocked even her: all 13 samples contained intestinal bacteria and fungi. Only 3 of these contained relatively harmless amounts, 9 were found to be contaminated but not in a threatening doses, but one was considered an actual health risk. The sample was full of harmful enterobacteria. It was a ready-to-eat salad with tomatoes and mozzarella, derived from a greengrocer. A serious lack in hygiene during preparation is thought to be the cause.

It’s up to consumers themselves to be vigilant during a purchase. When fresh produce is involved, the expiration date should be observed, according to several consumer organisations. This though, is often missing on pre-packed dishes. Health organisations advise customers to watch for color variations, bad odours and the presence of sedimentation.



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