Prewashed lettuce in white salad bowl with cucumbers, broccoli, herbs, beans and other vegetables
Do I Need to Wash my Pre-Washed Lettuce?

The “Triple Washed” statement on boxes of lettuce means zilch to my mom. Ditto for my mother-in-law. Both women insist on rewashing their greens before using them in salads, having no faith in the labels printed on the convenient little packages. But are they wrong? Being a label skeptic sometimes pays, however in this instance, they may actually be doing more harm than simply wasting their time and water.

According to many experts, pre-washed lettuce goes through a rigorous cleaning process and is entirely safe to eat. Facilities are inspected and must follow a stringent protocol whereby dirt, debris, bugs, bacteria and pathogens are removed before the lettuce is dried and bagged or boxed. The claim is that in washing at home there’s a greater chance that the greens could come in contact with harmful bacteria from one’s own kitchen sink than any good done by washing, which is why they advise not to rewash pre-washed greens.

Sure it saves time, but the best part about pre-washed lettuce may be how incredibly dry the leaves are – with pre-washed, you’ll never have soggy, sad salads. Freshly made vinaigrettes are also able to perfectly coat these greens, unobstructed by residual moisture left during the home wash/spin process.

When I reach for a box there is more than a small part of me that struggles with the waste the packaging creates, however, occasionally grabbing pre-washed arugula makes sense on a busy night. I’m buying convenience. I can go from box to bowl in seconds allowing my family to enjoy and benefit from a healthy side on an action-packed night.

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