A person serving salad.

Choosing a diet rich in leafy green vegetables should be a benefit—not a liability—to your health. Fresh greens famously deliver a much-needed boost of vitamins, minerals, and fiber. But lately, I’ve been second-guessing my trips to the produce aisle. Just last fall, a series of outbreaks of dangerous E. coli bacteria linked to romaine lettuce led to serious illness across the country, leaving us to wonder whether eating leafy salad greens is a smart choice after all.

more on leafy greens

In spite of recurring outbreaks, government regulators have sometimes failed to give consumers the information they need to stay safe quickly enough. Despite reported illnesses in the summer of 2019, for example, the Food and Drug Administration waited until after the outbreak ended before making an announcement. Amid these lapses of oversight, CR has stepped in to help keep consumers informed and safe—as we did following the outbreaks in 2018, when we warned consumers to avoid all romaine, before U.S. regulators made the call. But consumers deserve a government that stands up for their health, which is why CR is pushing for additional rules that will empower the FDA to more quickly track and identify the sources of contamination.

This month, we’re offering you some strategies for how to make healthy and safe choices, without giving up on greens. We won’t be able to solve these problems overnight, but we can certainly do better than the status quo. You can count on CR to keep you informed while we push for the changes to keep you safe and confident about what’s in your salad bowl.

Editor’s Note: This article also appeared in the March 2020 issue of Consumer Reports magazine.