Poor can’t eat well if they can’t buy good food – Even if they stick to the center, people in poor neighborhoods often have trouble buying healthy food, just like they have problems buying safe cars. No one wants a mixed salad tossed with extra bacteria, mold and yeast, but those are just what you might find when you try to eat a healthier diet in poorer neighborhoods. The level of bacteria found on the fresh produce can vary according to the income level of the neighborhoods where it’s for sale.

Researchers compared levels of bacteria, yeast and mold on identical products sold in six Philadelphia-area neighborhoods, 3 of which have the city’s highest poverty levels. In these, consumer options tended to be small markets that offered less variety in fruits and vegetables.

The result: ready-to-eat salads and strawberries sold in stores in the poorer neighborhoods had significantly higher counts of microorganisms, yeasts and molds than the same products purchased elsewhere, while cucumbers had a higher yeast count and mold and watermelon contained more bacteria.

Nutritionist Jennifer Quinlan says, “Food deteriorates when there is microbial growth. The bacterial count is used to determine the quality of the produce and it was poorer quality, closer to being spoiled. Three of the things that had a higher bacteria count–strawberries, ready-to-go salad and fresh-cut watermelon–have been associated with food-borne illnesses.”

There’s lots of healthy food to eat in Nashville, and lots of guitar-wearing waiters to serve it up too. Who would have guessed that it’s the perfect place to hold a festival for UFOs and in all sorts of other fascinating topics?

Art credit: Dreamstime.com

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