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Is it ok to eat pre-packaged spinach leaves?

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#1 ~*stardust*~

Posted 15 August 2010 - 01:41 PM

Is it ok to use pre-packaged baby spinach leaves like you get from coles/woolworths when you're pregnant?

I know I've read that you shoudn't eat pre-packaged salads but I always use the pre-packaged spinach leaves in dishes like risotto and I don't think I've seen the loose baby spinach leaves in the supermarket. I add it at the end of cooking just before serving so while it goes hot when mixed with the rest of the risotto, it doesn't get cooked in it IYKWIM?

#2 EBeditor

Posted 15 August 2010 - 01:43 PM

Just thoroughly wash them first and they will be fine.

#3 ~*stardust*~

Posted 15 August 2010 - 01:52 PM

Thanks for your quick reply.

So, are other prepackaged salads ok too like your mixed lettuce bags if washed thoroughly first? Or should I stay away from these?

I would assume things like pre-packaged potato salad and coleslaw would be a no go?

#4 chocolatecrackle

Posted 15 August 2010 - 01:56 PM

I have been eating them - often cooked, but also in a salad.  I asked my GP about it, and he said that officially I shouldn't, but he couldn't see a problem with them since they were sealed in the bag and refrigerated.  I figure that I've never heard about not being able to eat sandwiches, and it's not like there's anything magic in bread that would stop germs, so a small amount of salad leaves couldn't be that bad.

However, I wouldn't touch anything more chopped, or with a mayonnaise-type dressing.  I'd even be uncomfortable about the loose leaves, since you can't be sure what's got into those since it left the processor to go to the supermarket.

#5 JupitersMoon

Posted 15 August 2010 - 02:09 PM

I was told to avoid pre packaged salads as they had not been thoroughly washed, so as long as you wash them very well they should be fine. Also told that Heat kills listeria so if they are cooked and HOT (not warm) then are fine.

#6 ~*stardust*~

Posted 15 August 2010 - 02:17 PM

Ok, another question!

If listeria is killed by heat would it be ok to eat ham in a toasted sandwich if the ham was heated until piping hot?

I know you can't eat deli/sandwich meats usually but if heated would this be ok?

#7 Amanda_R

Posted 15 August 2010 - 02:18 PM

Rinse them thoroughly if you are going to use them.  It's not as good as heating them properly, but it's better than nothing.

QUOTE (jkmr2010 @ 15/08/2010, 01:56 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I asked my GP about it, and he said that officially I shouldn't, but he couldn't see a problem with them since they were sealed in the bag and refrigerated.

Sealing in a bag and refrigerating isn't going to prevent the bacteria growth if the leaves have any on it before they were packaged.  Refrigeration does not kill Listeria for example, and it will grow while in the fridge (it still grows in sub zero temps).  Heat is the best thing to kill bacteria, washing is ok but not guaranteed to get rid of it.

*eta* As long as the ham is fresh and heated at a high enough temp it should be fine.  I often grilled the ham quickly before I put it in a toasted sandwich because sometimes it wouldn't get hot enough.  And it made it taste good too lol.

Edited by Amanda_R, 15 August 2010 - 02:20 PM.

#8 beigegirl

Posted 15 August 2010 - 02:25 PM

I think the risk with prepackaged salads and leaves is LIsteria, which is killed by heat.  so the spinach leaves are OK if you rinse them yourself again, and also get them to "piping hot".  Salad leaves not OK unless you are cooking them.

#9 ~*stardust*~

Posted 15 August 2010 - 02:35 PM

Ok, what's the difference between using a loose lettuce for example and one that has been pre-bagged? Not that we use pre-bagged lettuce but we sometimes do eat the pre-packaged salad leaves in a salad or a sandwich for example.

Why is a loose lettuce ok to eat but not a pre-bagged one?

#10 Amanda_R

Posted 15 August 2010 - 02:38 PM

It's not any better.  Both should be washed thoroughly.

#11 cabbagepatch

Posted 15 August 2010 - 06:50 PM

a whole loose lettuce isn't processed like bagged lettuce/spinach is.
You cannot be certain of the processing process (if it is clean/refrigerated etc) so I just avoid the bagged ones altogether - but in saying that my DH has started to grow some lettuce in the vegie garden... (we still wash them thoroughly too)

#12 Fillyjonk

Posted 15 August 2010 - 10:04 PM

I would actually lean *towards* prepackaged salad greens as fewer hands are likely to have touched them to spread contaminants. But yes, wash thoroughly before eating.

I actually read somewhere to wash your vegetables with soapy water but I think that might be taking it a bit too far.

With toasted ham sandwiches, I would put the ham in the microwave for about 20 seconds before putting it on the sandwich and toasting it just to make sure that it gets up to the required 60 degrees.

#13 Acidulous Osprey

Posted 15 August 2010 - 11:16 PM

It's the sealed bag that the lettuce leaves are in that leads to listeria growing more enthusiastically.  Loose lettuce is safer after a good wash than lettuce which has been sealed in a closed environment which listeria loves.

Heated to a high temp spinach is just fine. As is ham or salami or any other deli meat.

#14 namie

Posted 16 August 2010 - 12:06 AM

QUOTE (~*stardust*~ @ 15/08/2010, 02:17 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
If listeria is killed by heat would it be ok to eat ham in a toasted sandwich if the ham was heated until piping hot?

I know you can't eat deli/sandwich meats usually but if heated would this be ok?

I avoided all cold meats most of the time, and certainly from delis, but if I really, really fancied a ham and cheese toasted sandwich, I'd use 'fresh' (bought, opened and eaten on the same day) pre-packed ham or salami (not the stuff that has been sitting in the open cooler at the supermarket) and I'd fry it quickly in a frypan before adding it to the bread and cheese and then toasting it until the cheese was melted.

I also had fetta on a Pumpkin and Fetta pizza as it got to quite a hot temperature.

#15 asiltheangel

Posted 16 August 2010 - 07:59 AM

Im currently 34 weeks and when i was 17weeks i made a dish with baby spinach leaves (cooked) that were actually imported and not from the store i normally purchase my fruit and veg from. Im pretty slack too, i dont wash pre packed leaves either as ive never had a problem until i was 17weeks. Both myself and my husband became violently ill with salmonella poisoning. we both should have been hospitalised and we were both sick for 2, almost 3 weeks. we were also medicated as well which they rarley do for the samonella  bug as they normally get you to 'ride it out' however we were so sick and not gtting any better. so as a result im very wary of pre packed salads, especially those not prepared in australia!

#16 Fillyjonk

Posted 16 August 2010 - 09:00 AM

It's the sealed bag that the lettuce leaves are in that leads to listeria growing more enthusiastically.

Hmm, fair call. I will stick with "fresh" lettuce from now on.

asiltheangel - how awful! And scary as well. I am glad that everything seems to have turned out ok with your pregnancy.

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