Are Kale Smoothies Safe?

Kale SmoothieI have many friends that are boasting how great they feel after going on a Kale Smoothie a day regimen.  Knowing the additional risks of consuming raw cut leafy greens and juicing I had my concerns.    I dug in to do some research expecting to find a plethora of data.   I was surprised to find not much information supporting my concerns. I did discover information about consuming Kale everyday.  For instance, over consumption apparently could lead to Kidney and Gall Stones due too high Oxalates . Since I am not a nutritionist I will leave that alone.  However, here are two articles I read that discuss these and other issues,  Incredible Smoothies and Introduction to Kale . 

Back to food safety, I was scratching my head wondering why couldn’t I find supporting documentation.  Then it occurred to me, is it possible that this relatively new practice has not experienced any major problems yet.  Yes, I do believe that we will be hearing more about this in the future.  Why? Well because until recently there were not masses eating raw kale.  Generally it was cooked thoroughly which reduces certain pathogens like E.coli and Salmonella to acceptable levels.

I am not suggesting that these shakes should be avoided. They are a wonderful way increase your vegetable intake.   However, take some precautions and your risk of contracting a foodbourne illness  will be reduced.  Here are a few suggestions to follow:

  • Wash your hands and clean and sanitize your surfaces before starting any food preparation in the kitchen.
  • Purchase Kale pre-washed and bagged from a reputable supplier.  Earthbound Farms has an excellent food safety system in place.  Purchasing loose Kale exposes you to whoever and whatever has touched it.  Just think of the how many people have touched the leaf before you consume it.
  • If you do purchase loose kale, wash the full leaf in slightly warmer water than the temperature of the produce, allow it to air dry before cutting.
  • Keep it cool.  41 ° or below.  Cut leafy greens MUST have refrigeration.  Especially after being blended, cut or juiced.
  • Make only enough that you will consume right away.  Avoid preparing to far in advance.
  • Discard any juice or smoothie that has been stored above 41 ° for more than 4 hours.
  • Be especially cautious when serving to Children 0-4, the elderly and persons with immune compromised systems.
Be food safe!
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