The famous insertion trick kitchen paper V salads in bags keeping them has become very popular lately. We can see it repeatedly on social media and there are even a few restaurants that do it. However, those who promote it do not take into account that, despite the fact that the leaves are well preserved for a longer time, the risk of infection food poisoning.

Salad bags have become an ideal option for those who want to eat right, but do not have enough time. Whether it’s arugula, lettuce or spinach, or if they come with mixture of leaves and other greenery, all of which are a hit as they arrive washed and sliced, ready to serve. But there is a problem: its fragility. Shortly after opening the package, we see how the leaves become soft or even rubbery. We often have to throw them away before we finish, which should be avoided in a society where food waste it became a big problem. For this reason, more and more people are turning to paper kitchen trick

So what normally lasts 24 hours is supposedly kept fresh. within a day. There are even those who talk about the week on social networks. Unfortunately, this is very dangerous, mainly for two reasons. On the one hand, since it is external agentsuch as kitchen paper, which can introduce pathogens into the salad. On the other hand, because bag stays open longer than indicated, so that his protective atmosphere is no longer effective.

The danger of packaged salads

In 2018, it took place in USA outbreak of infection coli in which at least 100 people were injured. They all ate romaine lettuce. This was obvious at first, as we are accustomed to the fact that food poisoning is usually caused by undercooked meat and fish. However, in the same year US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) warned that vegetables had already become a major source of this type of infection.

This happened not only in the North American country. Two years ago, in the United Kingdoma study was published in which salads in bags were indicated as an ideal environment for the reproduction of bacteria of the genus salmonella. Later it became known that they may also contain other genera such as listeriosis or Campylobacter.

This does not mean that packaged salads are dangerous. as such. The fact is that they are very sensitive to pollution and, in addition, we usually don’t handle them properly.

These are already chopped vegetables in which contact surface so that pathogenic bacteria can enter them. Also, because they are packaged, sweat creates moisture over time, which favors reproduction of microorganisms. Although humidity is also needed to keep them fresh. All this requires a balance that is taken care of by the food industry before they end up in our refrigerators.

Step by step to minimize the risk of foodborne infections

The first thing to do is to harvest the vegetables with the help of harvesters that harvest them at high speed. Then they are cooled in vacuum refrigerators, which lower their temperature very quickly, reaching 2ºC in just 20 minutes.

After that, they are transferred to cold chambers, where they remain for less than 2 hours. The next step is processing, which begins with passing the tender shoots through air processor. In this case, the lightest parts, such as leaves, float, while stones and other heavy bodies remain on the belt, from which they are removed for discarding. Among these heavy bodies may be, for example, a lizard. It’s not uncommon, but the food industry has a responsibility to keep these reptiles out of our homes.

Next steps washing, disinfection with chlorinated water and drying. In this case, there would be only a visual inspection to remove unnecessary bodies or leaves with some unusual color, for example.

Although this is not always the last step. In many cases, packaging protective atmosphereconsisting of gases that prevent contamination of its contents.

If several days pass without a protective atmosphere, the vegetables become more easily contaminated. Credit: Magera Tanker (Unsplash)

Control must continue in our homes

Salads in bags should go to supermarkets, constantly maintaining cold chain. Once they’re out of there, we’re consumers who need to be careful.

We must follow advice such as maintaining the cold chain as much as possible. We are not going to carry the purchase in the refrigerator, but we can only buy these products if we are going to return home immediately. If the road is long, you can even use cold compresses. Once in our kitchens, we must refrigerate immediately.

But that’s not all. In addition to the refrigeration temperature, there are two numbers on the container that we must follow verbatim as you indicated hypertext Doctor of Food Science and Technology Miguel Angel Luruenha. “It’s important to follow the advice on the label, which isn’t jolly, but rather sound, as longevity studies are being done to find out how long a product will last,” he says. That is, it is calculated how long it is stored without risk to health. “That’s why some expiration date before opening, which is also performed only under the recommended storage conditions. This is not the only date we need to pay attention to. “Also secondary date (after opening consume until) is established according to objective criteria.”

Those criteria you refer to are shelf life studies which include microbiological analysisto see how long it takes pathogens to reach levels that can cause food poisoning. With all this in mind, although there is no such thing as zero risk, we are very careful not to get sick from eating bagged salads.

Why can the kitchen paper trick cause food poisoning?

As a general rule, the secondary date of salad bags is usually from 24 hours. That is, after opening, they should be consumed a maximum of 1 day. The kitchen paper trick is done to increase this duration, so that’s where the first mistake is made. After all, what we do is keep the bag open longer, loses its protective atmosphere and exposing vegetables to many other microorganisms.

On the other hand, this kitchen paper is not sterile. With him we may represent more microorganisms in the bag, which will be added to the existing ones, reducing their useful life. And that is not all. It is true that the leaves become ugly faster from moisture. If you remove it, apparently they will be fresher. However, Lurueña notes that humidity is also essential for the preservation of vegetables. In moderation, of course.

all this measured to the millimeter. After 24 hours, once the bag is opened, they will have the right amount of moisture needed to keep them for as long as we can safely consume them. Then if they put hourly, we must interpret this as a natural sign that they should no longer be consumed. Trying to mask the problem won’t solve it.

In short, in the food industry, they do the backbreaking job of packaged salads so that we can consume them with minimal risk. If we intervene in all this work, the risk and food poisoning will increase, which can be especially serious in children, the elderly and people with weakened immune systems. Therefore, no matter how appetizing we may find paper kitchen trickit is better to leave the bag as it is.

Source: Hiper Textual

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