A study warns that organic leafy vegetables can contain harmful bacteria such as salmonella

They are often seen as healthier alternatives to standard fruits and vegetables, but a new study may prevent you from buying organic.

Researchers from the Universidade Politècnica de València tested samples of organic lettuce and spinach and found that some contained harmful bacteria including Pseudomonas, Salmonella and Helicobacter.

Researchers have warned that this bacteria can cause a host of nasty infections, including pneumonia and gastrointestinal disease, if consumed.

Researchers from the Universidade Politècnica de València tested samples of organic lettuce and spinach and found that some contained harmful bacteria including Pseudomonas, Salmonella and Helicobacter (stock image)

Do you need to wash fruits and vegetables?

It is important to wash fruits and vegetables before eating them to remove any pesticide residue.

Products are also at risk of contamination from dust, dirt and bacteria as most are stored in warehouses, before traveling in containers and stored at retailers.

Not washing fruits and vegetables can lead to food poisoning, such as an E. coli infection.

NHS Choices advises people to wash fruits and vegetables under running tap water.

Exfoliation can be effective, but this strips away important fiber and nutrients, such as vitamin C.

The term organic refers to foods that are produced under strict guidelines.

“Standards in Europe are set out in EU law and restrict the use of pesticides and prevent the use of herbicides in food production,” the NHS explains.

“Some people choose to eat organic foods because they are concerned about the residues of these pesticides in the food or they may be concerned about the impact of agriculture on the environment.”

While organic foods are not exposed to pesticides or herbicides, they can be contaminated with pathogens through contact with soil, irrigation water, air, rain, insects, and during industrial washing.

In particular, vegetables can be contaminated with certain protozoa (single-celled organisms) such as live amoebas (FLA), which can act as a host for pathogenic bacteria.

“Food and food-related environments create an ideal meeting place for live amoebas and disease-causing bacteria,” explained Dr Yolanda Moreno, who led the study.

However, relatively little is known about the occurrence and diversity of free-living amoebae on organic vegetables and their role in the transmission of human pathogens.

In their study, the team analyzed 17 samples of organic lettuce and spinach collected from local supermarkets in Valencia between November 2020 and May 2021.

In their study, the team analyzed 17 samples of organic lettuce and spinach collected from local supermarkets in Valencia between November 2020 and May 2021. Their analysis revealed that a third of the samples contained 52 species of potentially disease envelope bacteria, including Legionella and Salmonella. and Arcobacter, which can cause pneumonia and gastrointestinal disease

In their study, the team analyzed 17 samples of organic lettuce and spinach collected from local supermarkets in Valencia between November 2020 and May 2021. Their analysis revealed that a third of the samples contained 52 species of potentially disease envelope bacteria, including Legionella and Salmonella. and Arcobacter, which can cause pneumonia and gastrointestinal disease

Their analysis revealed that a third of the samples contained 52 types of potentially disease-causing bacteria, including Legionella, Salmonella and Arcobacter, which can cause pneumonia and gastrointestinal disease.

A fifth was found to contain Vermamoeba vermiformis, which causes severe infections, while nearly two thirds contain Acanthamoeba castellanii, which can cause blindness and encephalitis.

“The presence of bacteria of public health concern within free-living amoebae suggests that they are compounds that can easily transmit pathogens capable of reaching humans and causing health problems through contaminated organic vegetables,” said Dr. Moreno.

Pollution can arise as a result of soil treatment with organic fertilizers such as manure and sewage sludge and from irrigation water.

Leafy greens are particularly susceptible to fecal contamination due to their proximity to the ground and the potential for humans to consume them without cooking.

“Our findings also underscore the need to educate the public about the safe and proper handling of fresh organic vegetables before eating them fresh or lightly cooked.”

Professor Willem van Schaik, director of the Institute of Microbiology and Infection and Professor of Microbiology and Infection at the University of Birmingham, who was not involved in the study, noted that the risks are not just organic vegetables.

“The observations here are not somewhat surprising, but they are not unique to organic vegetables as suggested here,” he said.

It’s good to read that researchers have highlighted the advice that all leafy greens should be washed before use, which will greatly reduce the risks of foodborne infections.

What are salmonella and staphylococcus?

salmonella

salmonella It is a group of bacteria infect the gastrointestinal tract.

They live in the intestines of humans and animals and are eliminated through feces.

Humans most often become infected through contaminated water or food. Contamination is possible if raw and cooked foods are stored together.

Symptoms of salmonella infection include diarrhea, stomach cramps, and sometimes vomiting, and fever.

On average, it takes 12 to 72 hours for symptoms to appear after you swallow an infectious dose of salmonella.

It usually lasts for four to seven days and most people recover without treatment.

But if you become seriously ill, you may need hospital care because dehydration from the disease can be life-threatening.

Source: NHS Choices

Staphylococcus

Staphylococcus is a type of germ that causes bacteriaInfections affecting the skin and It results in boils, rashes, and spots.

But a staph infection can turn deadly if the bacteria invade deep into your body and cause sepsis by entering your bloodstream, joints, bones, lungs or heart.

Staphylococcus bacteria is one of the most common causes of food poisoning.

Symptoms appear quickly, usually within hours of eating contaminated food.

Source: Mayoclinic.org

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