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Michael Dautner
November 19, 2019

The Importance of Washing Your Produce

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It may sound like an old wives’ tale but washing your produce before consumption is actually something that can mean life or death in the most extreme cases. In most cases, washing your produce will likely mitigate the chance of unwanted digestive issues, and hey, that’s reason enough to fall in line, right?

We don’t mean to scare, as the chances are pretty good that you already practice produce safety and rinse your fruits and veggies under the sink before eating without giving it a second thought. If that pertains to you, good for you. Keep up the good work. But if this does not pertain to you: listen up. For one reason or another, it is thought that meat and seafood carry the highest risk of foodborne illnesses. While this is certainly true to some extent, that does not cancel out the possibility of foodborne illnesses being found in one of the apples you eat on a daily basis, or in the spinach you’re about to include in your stir-fry dish. Unlike meat and fish, there is a method on severely cutting down on the chances of contracting a foodborne illness from produce; and that is to thoroughly wash it before consumption. There are some pretty formidable foodborne illnesses that have the potential to take residency on your produce including but not limited to E. coli and salmonella.

Still not convinced? We can break it down even further. Before you juggle with whether or not to wash your produce, consider the fact that you’re not the only one who has physically handled your produce. From the time the harvesters rip or pluck the product from whence it came to when it is stocked in the produce section of your local grocery store, the produce is handled by several people before it ends up on your kitchen counter. I’m sure this has convinced most of you at this point, but in case it hasn’t consider these additional points in favor or thoroughly washing you produce before eating it. Many people also seldom consider the potential for insects found on the surface of produce. Although these tiny insects may not have hazardous health implications, they may drastically alter the taste of your produce, and that’s not good. In addition, a simple wash under the kitchen sink can significantly cut down the chances of harmful pesticides and herbicides remaining on the produce. Contrary to popular opinion, the majority of produce is treated with some form of pesticide or herbicide, and yes, this includes organically grown produce.

Now that we have done our proper due diligence in convincing you to wash your produce, you probably should know just how to wash your produce. Most experts concur that the best method for washing your produce is by running it under cold water for one to two minutes. Before doing so, make sure you wash your own hands before touching the produce, otherwise you’re just adding the dirt and germs from your hands and spreading it to your fruits and vegetables.

It’s a simple concept, significantly decrease the chance of ingesting harmful entities by taking a minute or so to rinse the produce under the sink before using it to make that soup or pristine fruit salad. Produce is unique in that the ownness is on the customer to remove any harmful contaminants from the actual product. It takes almost no effort to rinse out your produce, so with that in mind, why risk it? Wash your produce and be happier for it.

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