Probably every website, tabloid
and publication are screaming about the innumerable benefits of consumption of
fresh fruits and vegetables. True, fresh fruits and veggies do have enormous
health benefits and play an important role in warding away many potentially
dangerous health issues, there's a flip side to it that most of us don't really
A new study, conducted by the US
Center for Disease Control and Prevention, claims that fruits and vegetables
were responsible for 46 percent of all food poisoning
cases, as opposed to meat
and poultry foods, which caused just 22 percent of food poisoning cases.
Green leafy vegetables like
lettuce, spinach etc are the main culprits behind food poisoning in a majority
of cases, the researchers claim. This is mostly because these veggies are often
consumed raw, and the bacteria residing on these veggies are very much alive
when they enter the gastrointestinal system.
Pre-cut greens, which are packed
in plastic bags and sold in supermarkets may carry a number of foodborne
illnesses, the research claims.
While meats are needed to be cooked
at high temperatures and for a longer duration of time, most of the bacteria
that reside in them, get killed due to high pressure and temperatures. Fresh
veggies, on the other hand, are consumed raw, which spikes up the risk of the
bacteria infecting an individual.
Director of the University of
Georgia's Center for Food Safety, Dr Michael Doyle, explained how lettuce, in
particular can be extremely harmful. According to Doyle, harmful bacteria can
form and grow within the plant tissue of lettuce.
E.coli, Salmonella and Listeria
are common gastro-intestinal organisms that lead to health issues. These enter
the body chiefly through green leafy vegetables.
In certain extreme cases, bagged
can also lead to kidney failure.
"Steps are needed to be taken to ensure bacteria-free
foods", Doyle says. "New bacteria-killing techniques are needed".