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Experts Weigh In On Whether You Should Wash Lettuce Before Eating

Lettuce is a staple in many people’s diets, but when it comes to preparing it, there seems to be some confusion as to whether or not it needs to be washed before consumption. Some argue that washing lettuce is necessary to remove dirt, bacteria, and other contaminants that may be present, while others say that it’s not required at all. So, do you need to wash lettuce before eating it? Here’s what experts have to say.

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The short answer is yes, you should wash your lettuce before eating it. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), leafy greens like lettuce are a common source of foodborne illness, particularly from bacteria such as E. coli and salmonella. Washing your lettuce can help remove any dirt or bacteria that may be present on the leaves and reduce the risk of getting sick.

It’s also important to note that some lettuce varieties, such as romaine, have been linked to foodborne illness outbreaks in recent years. In 2019, a multistate outbreak of E. coli infections was linked to romaine lettuce. While washing your lettuce may not eliminate the risk of contamination, it’s a simple step you can take to reduce your chances of getting sick.

So, how should you wash your lettuce? The CDC recommends washing your hands before and after handling lettuce and then rinsing the lettuce under cool running water. Gently rub the leaves to remove dirt or debris, then dry the lettuce with a clean towel or salad spinner.

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It’s also worth noting that pre-washed and bagged lettuce may still need to be washed. While these products are often labeled as “triple washed” or “pre-washed,” they can still harbor bacteria that can make you sick. If you do choose to buy pre-washed lettuce, it’s still a good idea to rinse it under running water before consuming it.

In conclusion, while it may be tempting to skip the washing step when preparing lettuce, it’s essential to take the time to wash your lettuce correctly. Doing so can reduce your risk of getting sick from foodborne illness, and enjoy your salad with peace of mind.