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Are Prepackaged Salads Healthy Salads?

Updated on October 2, 2015

Is Salad From A Store Healthy At All?

It is really convenient to buy prepackaged salads in a supermarket. You just put it in a bowl, add your favorite sauce and healthy meal is ready.

But is it really healthy? How do they wash your prepacked salad? And do they wash it at all?

It looks fresh and well cleaned, but it is not always like that.

Photo by avlxyz,, CC BY-SA 2.0

In prepackaged salads can we find a wide range of fungi and bacteria, including E.coli, Salmonella, Campylobacter, Listeria and others.

We may not notice ingestion of some bacteria at all, but some can cause us serious problems (diarrhea, damage to internal organs, even death).

Photo by Eric Erbe, digital colorization by Christopher Pooley, Wikimedia Commons

E. coli is a bacteria which is widespread in the human gut (we can see it enlarged in the picture above).

In the human faeces was found more than 100 billion bacteria E. coli, but only some serotypes can harm human and cause disease.

"Salad bars are like a restaurant's lungs.

They soak up the impurities and bacteria

in the environment,

leaving you with much cleaner air to enjoy."

Doug Coupland

How is your prepackaged salad washed?

Photo by twicepix,, CC BY-SA 2.0

Packaged salad looks clean, but is usually washed in a water with added chlorine to destroy bacteria (research has shown that for example E.coli is resistant to chlorine).

In addition, chlorinated water is not changed often enough, which reduces the desired effect on destroying bacteria.

Washing with chlorinated water also reduces the amount of vitamins in a salad (chlorine does destroy vitamins) and the taste is not exactly the best (we all know the taste of water in the pool).

To avoid all these problems it is the best to wash packaged salad ourself if it is possible.

Salad Spinner - ...and you can wash and dry your salad...

OXO Good Grips  Salad Spinner
OXO Good Grips Salad Spinner

You can wash and dry your salad with OXO Salad Spinner. It's really easy to use, you can use it for herbs and greens too. OXO salad spinner is dish washable.

This one is large one and measures 10.2" x 10.2" x 6.8".

Small OXO salad spinner is available too and measures 6.0" x 7.9" x 6.8".


What can we do?

Copyright (c) 123RF Stock Photos

Let's eat salad which has not been packaged for a long time (the more in the bag, the more bacteria proliferate).

Before use, let's always wash hands, otherwise we'll transfer bacteria from hands to food.

Before using packaged salad it is best to store it in a refrigerator (but not for too long).

"I'm a hygiene freak. I'm like obsessive-compulsive when it comes to washing your hands."

Kelly Clarkson

Do you often buy prepacked salad?

Do you often buy prepacked salad?

See results

Your comments are welcome...

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    • takkhisa profile image

      Takkhis 5 years ago

      Everyday we eat vegetables and always wash it well before we cook.

    • SusanRDavis profile image

      Susan R. Davis 5 years ago from Vancouver

      Thank you for this lens. I was surprised by this information, and not in a good way. I suppose I always thought the washed and bagged salad would be cleaner and healthier.

    • mel-kav profile image

      mel-kav 5 years ago

      I always wash my fruits and vegetables - with soap if possible. I'm a little OCD when it comes to germs. I can't help but to think about all the germs and bacteria from handling, transporting conditions, if they had fallen on the floor, etc. And salad bars - forget it!!!

    • sudokunut profile image

      Mark Falco 5 years ago from Reno, Nevada

      I must admit to being one of those who sometimes skips the washing step. I'll be more careful in future.

    • kindoak profile image

      kindoak 5 years ago

      I used to live in South America and early on learned to wash vegetables and fruit. Still do it here in Sweden - you never know who has been fingering your food!

    • bhthanks profile image

      bhthanks 6 years ago

      washing salad is very important, thank you for bringing this to people's attention

    • maxmelt86 profile image

      maxmelt86 6 years ago

      As a former chef I have learned you should wash all veggies (especially leafy greens and salads) whether fresh, canned, frozen, or prepackaged, to reduce chance of getting a food born illness.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      You certainly made your point extremely well here, no arguments!

    • CruiseReady profile image

      CruiseReady 6 years ago from East Central Florida

      Well, I guess I am going to be more careful about washing my packaged salad greens from now on.

    • profile image

      holidayscrapping 6 years ago

      Thanks for the great tips

    • thesuccess2 profile image

      thesuccess2 6 years ago

      I always worry about traces of pesticides

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Very useful bit of advice and valuable information. Thanks for sharing.

    • jasminesphotogr profile image

      jasminesphotogr 6 years ago

      Good advice.

    • LouisaDembul profile image

      LouisaDembul 6 years ago

      I will think of these pictures every time I buy salad now! Great info, though!

    • Tiggered profile image

      Tiggered 6 years ago

      Eh... I'm rather against sterilising the world. I'll turn it into a manifesto and never wash my salad again!

      PS. Home grown is better, anyway

      PS2. I think it's cool you voice your opinion :)

    • profile image

      mockingbird999 6 years ago

      I can't imagine not washing it first. Yuck. Nice lens.

    • profile image

      FarmerTom 6 years ago

      I know this sounds hard to believe, but I once found a \ grasshopper-like creature in a package of salad--and it was alive!

    • profile image

      buttercup007 6 years ago

      I aced the quizzes! :) I don't eat prepackaged salad but was planning to! Thanks for the warning! I''ll go wash my hands now LOL

    • CelinaHamm profile image

      CelinaHamm 6 years ago

      I buy prepackaged all the time and assumed it was clean and healthy. Thanks for the information. I will definitely wash all my salad stuff from now on. Great lens :)

    • tracy159 profile image

      Tracy Smith 6 years ago from Maryville, TN

      Never gave salad much thought and often didn't wash it. I won't do that any more.

    • profile image

      Bodyflip 6 years ago


    • JackieBlock profile image

      Jackie Block 6 years ago from SE Michigan

      Thanks for sharing. Many people get these salads to try to get their families eating healthier. Not thinking to wash them may have the exact opposite of the intended effect.

    • katiecolette profile image

      katiecolette 6 years ago

      You know, I never thought about washing packaged salad. Will certainly try to make it a habit. Thanks!

    • seashell2 profile image

      seashell2 6 years ago

      I agree, I try not to buy packaged salad fixes unless I absolutely have too! I don't need the extra chlorine or risk! Thanks for sharing!

    • profile image

      Jack-in-the-Box 6 years ago

      Good job. I am not sure many people understand about the packaged lettuce. Thanks for the info.

    • Diana Wenzel profile image

      Renaissance Woman 6 years ago from Colorado

      I'm working on purchasing fewer of these prepackaged salad mixes. Thanks for reminding us of healthy food handling practices. Very important!

    • PippiDust profile image

      PippiDust 6 years ago

      @JoshK47: Thank you very much.

    • profile image

      JoshK47 6 years ago

      A very important thing that a lot of people overlook - great lens!