WHAT’S BEING CLAIMED:
- A newly published study in the journal Science presents the findings of researchers on incidents since 2003 where animals were discovered in prepackaged salads.
- According to the results, majority of the animals found in 40 samples of pre-bagged salads bought from 20 states were frogs and toads, followed by reptiles, mammals and birds.
- Additionally, the study authors also noted that animal appearances are three times more common in standard produce than organic greens.
For years, many people in the United States who have bought pre-bagged salads from local grocery stores found extra surprise ingredients packaged along with their kale and romaine: frogs, lizards, rodents and bats.
Some animals were even found to be alive in 10 cases…which made the discoveries either less revolting or probably even worse.
A new study published online July 20 in the journal Science of the Total Environment describes the findings of scientists after recent study on these animal discoveries since 2003. After presenting forty samples of packaged salads bought from 20 states that included unexpected wildlife guests, 38 are found to have such encounters in the past decade.
Data on incidents reported online by news outlets had been collected by the researchers. This included date and location of the animal discoveries, type of goods, packaging type, animal species and if the animal was dead or alive. For dead animals, the scientists noted whether ‘the animal was whole or partial’.
Results showed that 53% of the animals found in salads were frogs and toads where most of the frogs belong to the tree fog group. An estimated 23% of the salad animals are comprised of reptiles while around 18% were mammals, mostly rodents, and the rest were birds.
Further, they also observed that animals are three times more found in bags of standard vegetables than in organic ones.
While this study centered on vertebrates, the researchers also found invertebrate life in packaged salads on several occasions and believed that these could outnumber the vertebrate cases.
They explained that it’s likely that “wildlife ends up in packaged salad even more frequently than their findings suggest” because some cases may have not been reported or were reported only in print media, which was not included in the study.
Pre-packed salads became very popular since it was introduced in the 80s. The study authors surmised that the industry’s continued reliance on automatic production channels could be the reason why small, wild animals could avoid safety features and end up inside a salad bag.
According to the study authors, despite it being the first study to take on these repeated instances of small vertebrate appearances in salad, it remains undetermined whether these incidents show a ‘food-safety crisis or a complaint against food quality’. To know when and how animals find their way into salad bags and what measures could be taken to prevent this would require further observations of the harvesting and production process.
Source: Live Science