This spring we've had an unusually high amount of rainfall and whether in raised beds or not, the lettuce seems to be a magnet for the dirt that splashes up from the splat of the raindrops into the soil.
Food safety is high on our list of priorities here at Hope Farms and we take it seriously. We use a hand-washing station and sanitize our harvesting utensils and containers with a sanitizing solution as necessary. Of course, we're not preparing for surgery, so there will be no masks or scrubs donned while picking lettuce but we do follow a basic procedure. Although we are not "certified" by any institution or organization we do follow the basic outline of the GAP's, or Good Agricultural Practices.
Often, at the market, you might hear me say "wash the produce really well," and I mean that not because there are unpronounceable chemicals on them but that the produce is probably dirty. As in dirt. Actual tiny grains of dirt and sand, in which it grows and gleans the nutrients it provides to us.
In the research that I've done, it has become fairly clear that sometimes the potential contamination of a product can occur during washing it. So that pre-washed lettuce that we've all come to see in the grocery stores? Not-so-much on the safe side. In fact there have been many recalls on bagged lettuces and spinach. Here's a list: (a list? we need a list? is this normal?)