Location: Louisville, KY (though really I'm a Michigander)
I hate having to make a whole new thread for one question, so hopefully this thread can be used for other things related to food safety questions.
My question is... how long is salad safe after the expiration date? I know 2 days after, there's some little bits of black slimy leaves... are those leaves safe to eat, or just gross? How far gone can salad get before it's no longer safe? lol I have the problem a lot cause sometimes I can't convince myself to eat a salad before it expires.
I still eat it when some leaves have tiny brown or black or slimy spots... but once ALL the leaves are affected, or they're noticeable spots, or if there's any odor, I toss it. I have no idea when it actually becomes unsafe, so I'm not necessarily recommending you do the same.
And I totally understand your problem... for the longest time, I would buy some greens intending to make a salad, and they'd end up going bad. It's not the only food I used to waste, but it was the most consistently wasted. Luckily I've manged to really cut down on food waste lately.. although I did have a little bit of nasty spinach I just threw out the other day. *sigh*
With salad it is more of a quality question than a safety question, though any food that has been exposed to food-borne illness causing bacteria can be a haven for it to reproduce. Historically, prepared salads were linked with staph bacteria, because that is one that is most often transferred from a person's hands when preparing the salad. A salad isn't heated, so the bacteria didn't get destroyed by a cooking process. Recently, there were some salmonella & ecoli links from the facilities where the greens were processed. Again, no cooking, so no destruction of bacteria. That being said, the chances of your prepared salad being exposed to staph, salmonella or e-coli are slim. So, back to the quality versus safety point. Once they are slimy and discolored they aren't very palatable, but aren't very likely to be seriously dangerous. The greens can produce some yeast in the decomposition process, which makes some people ill when they eat it, but not all. Now, if the salad has chicken, cheese or some other meat it is safer to avoid that after the expiration date.
My problem too, the choice is between get a bag of salad greens and then try to get it eaten before they go off, or get just enough greens at the salad bar for maybe two servings (one night and then the next). Problem is though that the salad bar has only iceberg, romaine (I like romaine better; somebody on the Straight Dope said that iceberg is just crunchy water ), spinach ETA 06.05 and sometimes spring mix, while the bagged greens have more varieties. Don't get me started on buying a whole head, no way am I ever going to get that done quickly. I wish those bagged-greens companies would make them in single-serving sizes. Then again I suppose that's a sin against the environment
Everything gets rotten after a while...be it Salad or anything else.....In the case of salad, tossing it once is fine, but you cannot keep it for a long time as it would certainly become rotten after some time. I believe more in the "green food" and as was recently strolling over the sites, came upon NinjaGreens Organic Supplements at Ninjagreens.com that i assume would be a good try if you are more in the green thing...
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