Just because it’s fresh, that doesn’t mean it’s safe.
When you’re at the store selecting produce for future meals and snacks, it never hurts to thoroughly inspect the veggies themselves, or the packaging they’re in where applicable. Between when a vegetable is pulled out of the ground and when it hits a store shelf, there’s a lot of shipping and manhandling. While produce producers always do their utmost to preserve the safety of their food, things sometimes slip through the cracks.
Back in 2019, certain kinds of fresh vegetables underwent a mass recall due to a potential listeria contamination. Situations like this are quite scary for everyone involved, including both distributors and customers. On the distributor side, the company from which the contamination originated, Growers Express, never found a concrete cause. They were testing their produce, and viral particles just showed up. All they could do was recall the veggies and deep clean the facility.
Meanwhile, on the customer side, there was nothing visibly wrong with the contaminated vegetables, so unless they heard the recall order, a lot of people potentially exposed themselves to a listeria infection. If you haven’t heard of it, listeria is a bacterial infection that typically manifests in food that hasn’t been processed correctly, like deli meats or improperly pasteurized milk. For most people, a listeria infection usually results in symptoms similar to food poisoning, like nausea, aches, and diarrhea. It’s not typically a fatal condition, though it can become much more of a concern for pregnant women, those aged over 65, and those with compromised immune systems.
As important as it is to incorporate fresh vegetables into your diet whenever possible, eating fresh produce also requires a small measure of vigilance. Remember to check expiration dates on vegetable packaging, and thoroughly wash and clean any vegetables you purchase. It probably wouldn’t hurt to keep your ear to the ground about any possible produce recalls.