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Why You Should Avoid Ordering A Salad At Restaurants

Image Source: Brent Hofacker / Shutterstock

Salads are considered to be a crucial part of our meals, using various leafy greens to create a fresh and crisp option compared to the typical fries and burgers at restaurants. However, when it comes to food safety, experts often recommend not ordering salads at the restaurant. They caution that greens can be contaminated in the field and remain at risk of harmful bacteria after being pre-washed and chopped with other vegetables. One type of salad to particularly avoid ordering at restaurants is iceberg lettuce.

Why iceberg lettuce is a big NO

Iceberg salads are often featured on menus due to the low cost, availability, and longer shelf life. Despite being 95 percent water and lacking in flavor, they are overpriced at restaurants. Many food bloggers and experts advise opting for seasonal salads with local ingredients instead of paying too much for a mundane item on the menu. Although iceberg lettuce may be a nostalgic and approachable choice, it is not the best option, especially considering the potential for contamination.

Aside from the high price, the main concern with ordering a salad at a restaurant is the risk of contamination. There is a significant possibility of the salad being contaminated by harmful bacteria, with 20 percent of foodborne illness linked to consuming salads.

The real reason behind greens getting contaminated

Greens can be tainted from various sources, including the use of manure as fertilizer and the susceptibility of organically grown crops to harmful compounds produced by fungi. Thorough washing of lettuce is essential to avoid potential health consequences for the consumer.

Other reasons why you should avoid ordering a salad at the restaurant

In addition to the aforementioned concerns about iceberg lettuce being pricey and contaminated, there are other reasons to reconsider ordering a salad:

  • Iceberg lettuce is often marked up about 20 times its worth.
  • Salad dressings can be laden with chemicals and fat, negating its value as a diet-friendly option.
  • Toppings like tortilla strips, cheese, croutons, and crispy chicken can compromise the health benefits of a salad.
  • Salad production can contribute to food waste and greenhouse gas emissions at an alarming rate.


Considering the various reasons outlined, ordering a salad at a restaurant may not be the best decision in terms of cost and potential health effects. It’s important to weigh the pros and cons before making dietary choices.

Image Source: Brent Hofacker / Shutterstock

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