Washing Practices for Vegetables and Fruits
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We all want to eat plenty of vegetables and fruits, and using proper washing technique is said to be the best way to reduce our exposure to food-borne illnesses. An FDA study published in the April, 2012 Issue of Food Protection Trends Journal examined washing practices in 2006 and 2010 for some sample thick and thin skinned vegetables and fruits.

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How Well Do We Wash Our Produce? - as part of the food and kitchen series by GeoBeats. We all want to eat plenty of vegetables and fruits, and using proper washing technique is said to be the best way to reduce our exposure to food-borne illnesses. An FDA study published in the April, 2012 Issue of Food Protection Trends Journal examined washing practices in 2006 and 2010 for some sample thick and thin skinned vegetables and fruits. The study found that over 96% of participants washed strawberries and tomatoes but only 50-57% washed cantaloupes. In situations, where the skin is not eaten, consumers may see less of a need to wash produce but the FDA notes that a knife going through the skin can still transfer those contaminants to the flesh. According to the FDA, any firm-skinned produce should be scrubbed with a vegetable brush under running water and soft-skinned produce should be rubbed under running water. Many of the participants used non-recommended methods. Over 40% of people who washed strawberries simply held them under water and 20% either soaked them or used cleaners. Soaking is considered a less effective method and so is the usage of cleaners as that may introduce new contaminants. Interestingly, over half of the people surveyed washed pre-cut bagged lettuce which is already washed. The FDA suggests it should not be rewashed so you can avoid risking its exposure to bacteria in your kitchen. A fun tidbit from the study - a larger number of men washed pre-cut bagged lettuce and a higher percentage of women washed cantaloupes. So how do you wash your produce?