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Salmonella bacteria love bagged salads.

That past-its-prime bag of spinach buried in the back of your fridge should probably hit the compost heap instead of your dinner plate. The watery gunk at the bottom of a bagged salad mix is the perfect breeding ground for Salmonella bacteria that could make people sick, researchers report online November 18 in Applied and Environmental Microbiology. The culprit? The juice that oozes out of cut or damaged leaves. After five days in the fridge, small amounts of plant juice sped up Salmonella growth. The bacteria grew rapidly on the bag and stuck persistently to the salad leaves, so much so that washing didn't remove the microbes. Salmonella's success inside bagged salads means it's important for producers to avoid bacterial contamination from the get-go--and for consumers to eat those greens before they get soggy. Popeye would approve.

Caption: Cut or damaged leaves in bagged salad mixes can leak plant juices that promote Salmonella growth.

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Title Annotation:FOR DAILY USE
Author:Hamers, Laurel
Publication:Science News
Article Type:Brief article
Date:Dec 24, 2016
Words:165
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