at the University of Arizona are exploring natural methods for improving the safety of organic leafy greens with common ingredients such as oregano, cinnamon and vinegar. The team led by Sadhana Ravishankar, associate professor in the Department of Veterinary Science and Microbiology, has found that by washing the vegetables with water containing plant extracts and essential oils can kill any bacteria contaminating them. The plant antimicrobials and organic sanitizers are natural, environmentally friendly, and effective at both room and cold temperatures. They have the potential to reduce and prevent contamination of the leafy greens at the production and harvesting levels. Ravishankar told the USDA Blog that her team is now testing combinations of plant antimicrobials and their effectiveness in recycled wash water. USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) funds the research. (To sign up for a free subscription to Food Safety News, click here.)