You may have recently heard that leafy greens were the number one cause of food-borne illnesses from 1998-2008 according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC). Leafy greens actually made up 23 percent of food-borne illnesses. With over 50 percent of those incidents from norovirus. For those of you who don’t know what “norovirus” is, it is an illness caused from eating fecal matter. Yes, fecal matter (poop). This made me kringe a little (ok maybe a lot) for several reasons.
It amazes me that we actually have this problem. I mean, come on people, lets please wash our hands after we go to the bathroom. Whether it happened in our kitchen or on the farm, does it really matter? It is still gross. As a young man, I have seen my share of guys that did not wash their hands after going to the bathroom. The CDC reports about 23 percent of guys do not wash their hands after going to the bathroom (most of the time this is after going “number one”). I ask one simple question, you are telling me everything is completely clean down there? You know for a fact that you have scrubbed everything completely clean? It poses a good question and explains why I glare at every guy that doesn’t join me in washing hands (your welcome ladies).
Is it this simple though? A study done by researchers from Michigan State University, the University of Pennsylvania, Westchester University and North Central College found that posting relatable reminder signs can increase the amount of guys that wash their hands. I guess we all just need a reminder once and while. While I understand I can’t stop every guy from walking out those bathroom doors without washing his hands, here are a few tips you can use to protect yourself from leafy green food-borne illness contamination:
- Make sure the leafy greens you are buying were not damaged
- Make sure the leafy greens were refrigerated at the store (wait, Farmer’s Markets don’t usually have refrigerators)
- Refrigerate within two hours
- Wash your hands before and after working with leafy greens
- Wash leafy greens with cool tap water
- Keep chemicals and uncooked meat away from leafy greens
Those are just some simple tips, but most importantly use your head. If something doesn’t look right, just don’t eat.