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Old 02-15-2009, 02:17 PM   #1
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Greens of all sorts

Help me. I used to think a quick rinse and spin in the spinner was good enough for cleaning most greens (lettuce, spinach, etc). After two weekends on the toilet after having restaurant salads (and I do NOT have a delicate stomach), I've realized that I may need to do more. Don't get me wrong,I've never, ever made myself and even my guests with the most delicate constitutions sick, but more and more I'm wondering if I need to do more. When I have my own garden greens, I soak them in very cold water to remove bugs and any other things in the garden, then spin dry. Do NOT tell me to put bleach in them, I'd rather be sick than have clorox for supper. I've been told some vinegar in the water is a good idea, and I can see that. How much vinegar would you put in a gallon of water? Would you use distilled or cider?

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Old 02-15-2009, 02:26 PM   #2
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Claire, I don't think what you are doing is the problem as you have never made anyone sick.

More likely, the food safety/handling at the restaurant(s) is the culprit. If both incidents happened at the same place, I'd stop going there.
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Old 02-15-2009, 02:28 PM   #3
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Miss Claire you have no control over restaurant salads except not to go back...Two different ones I'm guessing...Probably both buying from the same Produce wholesaler... Your at home greens seem to be fine...Just continue your regular routine....
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Old 02-15-2009, 02:43 PM   #4
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You know, I'm more careful now a days than I was a year ago. I used to just open the package and go, now I wash everything even the package stuff. I bought a package of turnip greens and was rushed and didn't think about it and forget to rinse them. They were awful. It was like they still had dirt in them. After two bites I tossed the entire pot.

I don't think it's anything you are doing, I think it's originating at the distribution centers. Everyone wants to make more by doing less and I do believe these places are cutting corners; not enough to get fines but enough to get by. Remember the spinach and green onion scares of late. Now we've got to worry about peanut butter.
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Old 02-15-2009, 05:04 PM   #5
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Washing of salad greens is only effective in removing dirt and other non-microscopic particles. It will have no effect on bacteria. Fortunately, salad greens don't have the protein necessary to promote much bacteria growth and when greens are involved in food outbreaks, it is usually because of gross contamination, often through the washing process at the processing plant (ironic huh?).

Because of the spinach outbreak a few years ago, people are quick to blame the produce. Most salads contain more likely candidates; meat, cheese, dressings with eggs, milk, cream or mayo, and the guy putting the salad together with his cut finger or unwashed hands.

The short answer is there isn't much you can do but, as others said, quit going to places where you have had a bad experience.
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Old 02-15-2009, 07:37 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Claire View Post
Help me. I used to think a quick rinse and spin in the spinner was good enough for cleaning most greens (lettuce, spinach, etc). After two weekends on the toilet after having restaurant salads (and I do NOT have a delicate stomach), I've realized that I may need to do more. Don't get me wrong,I've never, ever made myself and even my guests with the most delicate constitutions sick, but more and more I'm wondering if I need to do more. When I have my own garden greens, I soak them in very cold water to remove bugs and any other things in the garden, then spin dry. Do NOT tell me to put bleach in them, I'd rather be sick than have clorox for supper. I've been told some vinegar in the water is a good idea, and I can see that. How much vinegar would you put in a gallon of water? Would you use distilled or cider?
Hi Claire,

Rinse well under constant, running, cold water - all vegetagbles to be used in a salad. Place in a scalded salad spinner and spin - but you do this already - any salads should be safe to consume.

Go out to a restaurant and have a salad - wow betide you - I wouldn`t do it - You can never trust what lies beneath the fingernails and whether the chef has a competent food safety and hygiene policy in operation.

Salads R US - only in my house where safety in food preparation is paramount.

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Old 02-15-2009, 07:56 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by archiduc View Post
Hi Claire,

Rinse well under constant, running, cold water - all vegetagbles to be used in a salad. Place in a scalded salad spinner and spin - but you do this already - any salads should be safe to consume.

Go out to a restaurant and have a salad - wow betide you - I wouldn`t do it - You can never trust what lies beneath the fingernails and whether the chef has a competent food safety and hygiene policy in operation.

Salads R US - only in my house where safety in food preparation is paramount.

Archiduc
Not sure where you are located but where I'm from and where I was raised, there are strict health standards, to the best of my knowledge most major metropolitan areas in the US have serious food guidelines. My daughter's restaurant just got a 101 on their health inspection and their salads have never made anyone sick. I think the random generalization that all restaurant salads make people sick is grossly unfair.

I maintain my belief that the issues are in the distribution of the greens not the individual restaurants. Two restaurants in the same area would make sense as they likely get their supplies for the same distribution center. I often see trucks go from O'Charlie's across the street to Red Robin for various items. Not all restaurants have proprietary distribution centers like McDonalds.

I've eaten thousands of salads at restaurants and have not gotten sick to date. Again, to say all restaurant salads are unsafe is a very narrow statement.
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Old 02-16-2009, 10:21 AM   #8
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a few of things:

First, it isn't really clear if Claire actually got food poisoning from those salads or from some other food source. In fact, from her description, it isn't even clear if she had food poisoning at all.

The are many bacteria and parasites that can live in the human body that will cause her stated symptom without being food borne.

Second, health inspections don't prevent food poisonings, they just lower the potential number, just like cops don't stop crime. Much of the food poisonings have to do with human behavior which can not be really effectively regulated. For example, the sign says wash you hands after leaving the restroom per order of the health department, but no one is there watching to make sure the employees do.

Overall, I agree with the general safety of restaurant salads, and they are by far the least implicated commonly eaten type of food except when served from salad bars.
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Old 02-16-2009, 01:08 PM   #9
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Good grief! I truly feel sorry for some of you folks who go over the top with this stuff. How do you EVER manage to enjoy a nice restaurant meal or even cook food at home without an arsenal of disinfectant at hand at all times? I'm all for safety, & keep a clean kitchen, but I have to admit that some of the folks here at DC frighten me with their zealot attitude towards food. One can carry a good thing too far.
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Old 02-16-2009, 01:17 PM   #10
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Hey Breezy. Is everything okay? I don't see anyone here over the top, well, most people here. I do see one that I do wonder about. For the most part I think we all do enjoy a good restaurant including the salad and this is derived from a particular issue. We are just talking about general safety of greens and I do think that right now washing packaged greens is more important than it was 10 years ago. I think that times being what they are, manufacturers cutting costs, has lead to us as cooks to have to be more careful. I don't like it, I liked it better when I could dump a bag of greens into a bowl and chow, but I don't think you can do that now.

I really think that's all this is about, not necessarily carrying anything too far. JMO, of course, but I don't think anyone intended to take cleaning their greens too far.

I don't mean to be condisencing in any way, you're just usually so up so I wondered if anything was wrong today.
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