22 January 2019

Washing Produce is Good Consumer Practice

CropLife Latin America

Plaguicidas.info

When it comes to eating, we shouldn’t just consider what we consume, but how we handle it. Food safety at home is a good consumer practice and it includes washing fresh produce.

At some point, you have probably gone to a farmer’s market or grocery store and wanted to eat a piece of fruit right off the stand. And you probably thought it would be okay to eat it without washing it. But that is not the best idea.

Why? Fruits and vegetables are subjected to dirt, insects, harmful micro-organisms (pathogens) and more. Pathogens can come from from manure used as a fertilizer in some organic crops, residual water, contact with animals and insects, and transportation of food from farms to stores to homes. Produce can also be contaminated during the harvesting, processing, transporting and preparing food through the air or contact with different surfaces and hands.

Fruits and vegetables are subjected to dirt, insects, harmful micro-organisms (pathogens) and more.

In addition, fruits and vegetables are typically produced with pesticides. While pesticide residues, if any, occur in trace amounts that do not pose a safety issue, they can be minimized by washing produce.

For all of these reasons, washing produce is highly recommended before consuming it.

How to Wash Produce

Rub fruits and vegetables under a stream of clean, running water with clean hands or a clean brush and remove any visible dirt. Otherwise, you can soak them in a mixture of water and a little bit of baking soda for a few minutes. It is not advisable to use detergent or soap to wash produce since it hasn’t been proven that these substances are more effective than plain water.

Other tips:

  • Always wash your hands before handling food.
  • Throw away the outside leaves of leafy vegetables such as lettuce and cabbage.
  • Dry washed fruits and vegetables with a paper towel or clean cloth towel.

Rub fruits and vegetables under a stream of clean, running water with clean hands or a clean brush and remove any visible dirt.

Products that are peeled or cut should be consumed immediately. Once cut, these products start losing color and water, and thus start decomposing. If they aren’t consumed in a short period of time, microorganisms that can affect your health may appear.

Also, don’t forget to keep a clean environment, utensils and hands when handling all foods to ensure safety in your kitchen.

CropLife Latin America is the regional voice and leading advocate for the plant science industry based in Bogotá, Colombia.

Sources:
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1043452609570040?via%3Dihub
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16496573
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0956713514003405
http://aem.asm.org/content/70/11/6420.long
http://npic.orst.edu/faq/fruitwash.html
http://www.ct.gov/caes/cwp/view.asp?a=2815&q=376676
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2640071/

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