Listeria Found in Leafy Greens
Out of 284 samples of leafy greens that were tested, 6 returned positive for listeria monocytogene contamination. While a small percentage of contamination among greens is expected, these leafy greens raise particular concern since they are consumed raw. The greens associated with the contamination were sold between June 3-19, 2019 in supermarkets including Whole Foods, Costco, Hannaford, and Acme located in Connecticut, New York, and New Jersey. Consumer Reports provides the list of greens sold which are of concern as follows:
- Acme—unbranded, unbagged red leaf lettuce
- Costco—bagged spinach from Boskovich Farms (marked “triple washed”)
- Hannaford—unbranded, unbagged spinach
- Whole Foods—unbagged green kale from Lancaster Farm and unbranded, unbagged green leaf lettuce.
After being notified about the contaminated greens, the FDA is investigating the situation more closely. However, no official results have been published. Thus far, there have been no reported cases of illness related to these leafy greens. It is most likely that consumers no longer have these greens in their fridges anyways. Even if this instance does not result in any illnesses, it brings to attention the potential danger of consuming raw greens as well as the need for increased contamination prevention among vegetables.
Listeria is a bacteria which can cause flu-like symptoms such as fever, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. While listeria is not generally a major concern for the healthy person, it can be very dangerous for the young, elderly, pregnant, or any person who is immunocompromised. Unfortunately, washing your vegetables does not guarantee the riddance of such bacteria as listeria as it can hide in the microscopic crevices of your greens. For this reason, the best way to avoid the possibility of a food-born illness from your vegetables is to cook them before consumption.