As parents, there’s never enough time. Between our work schedules, family obligations, keeping the house in some semblance of order, putting food on the table three times a day, running kids to school and activities, there just isn’t a ton of time to spare.

Especially if we also want to keep up with what everyone else is somehow finding the time to watch on Netflix.

So when someone offers us a shortcut, like produce that’s been washed and dried and is clean and ready-to-eat, we’re more than a little tempted to fork over the extra cash in exchange for the convenience.

Today ran some tests on those “ready-to-eat” vegetables and compared them to similar results on regular (less expensive) options and found that there’s a considerable amount of bacteria on the produce, regardless of the price tag.

In fact, they found that the produce that claims to have been washed contained more bacteria spores, in most cases.

Glen Pinna from Biotech Laboratories compared ready-to-eat lettuce with pieces of fresh lettuce, and broccoli with the already cut and washed florets.

The “washed” lettuce contained 9.5 million microbes per gram, compared with 470,000 microbes per gram on the loose lettuce, and the cut and washed florets contained 850,000 microbes per gram compared to around 280,000 on the unwashed heads.

Pinna went on to explain his thoughts on the findings:

“The conditions they’re creating is really promoting the growth of bacteria.

Anything that you’re chopping up and putting into a bag and sealing and not holding under five degrees, those bugs are going to increase.”

He advises buying fresh produce, and when it comes to green leafy vegetables, definitely giving them a wash yourself in order to reduce the number of microbes that could not only potentially cause illness, but cause the food to spoil.

Surprisingly, when it comes to fresh fruit, he said tests show that washing them does essentially nothing to decrease microbes – no word on how it affects pesticides, though, so my berries are still getting a dunking.

Does this surprise you? It does me, a little bit, but I’m certainly glad for the knowledge.

As one of the aforementioned busy parents, if I can’t save time, I’m most definitely up for saving money!