Letter to the Editor

Salads can be health hazard too

Monday, October 12, 2009

To the Editor:

We've long known that cheese and ice cream aren't health foods, but is your side salad really a health risk?

A recent report outlines the 10 foods regulated by the Food and Drug Administration that cause the most cases of foodborne illness. Cheese, eggs, ice cream and tuna are among the riskiest foods, but the report also implicates leafy greens, tomatoes and sprouts.

As a dietitian, I know that when otherwise healthful produce becomes contaminated, it's because it has come in contact with water tainted by animal manure or meat products. Salmonella and E.coli are intestinal bacteria and spinach and sprouts clearly have no intestines.

A recent front-page story in The New York Times drew attention to the meat industry's role in spreading foodborne illnesses.

Consumers can help curtail everyone's risk of foodborne illness by opting for meatless meals, which would reduce the number of animals on farms. This healthy change also helps lower the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes and cancer.


Susan Levin, M.S., R.D.,

Director of Nutrition Education,

Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine,

Washington, D.C.