Bacteria and Bagged Salads: Better Standards and Enforcement Needed

A Consumers Union test of 208 packages of salad greens, funded by the Pew Health Group, found no evidence of three pathogenic bacteria (E. coli O157:H7, Salmonella, and Listeria) that, when present in food, have made people sick and, in some cases, killed them. However, Consumers Union did find other bacteria, called “indicator organisms” (generic E. coli, Enterococcus, total and fecal coliforms), that are found in the digestive tract of humans, other animals, and the environment, and that public health officials say indicate inadequate sanitation, fecal contamination, and the potential for the presence of pathogenic bacteria.