39% of Americans Use Toxic Cleaners to Clean Food Unsafely
8 Tips to Washing Fruits and Vegetables
By Cesar Collado
The CoronaVirus Pandemic has touched everyone in the US and around the world. Since reaching critical mass, there has been significant amounts of misinformation or uninformed attempts to keep one’s family safe during the pandemic. The CDC has monitored this activity via weekly surveys to gather information about the general public. In particular, one unnecessary area of risk caught my attention.
“39% of the Americans surveyed have done high-risk things with household cleaners in attempt to stay safe from the Covid-19 coronavirus.”
CDC Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report June 5, 2020
While I am not one to comment on the Corona Virus pandemic, the fact that 19% of people using bleach or other toxic chemicals to clean their food, mainly fruits and vegetables, is a concern.
Unfortunately, foodborn illness such as E. coli and listeria have often been in the news and have been tracked to fruits and vegetables. This makes the washing of fruits, greens, and vegetables that much more important.
Food safety and handling is under the ‘microscope’ right now. To that end, many people have resorted to practices such as washing the fruits and vegetables in soap or detergent before consumption. This can be a dangerous practice.
There is no evidence to prove that Coronavirus can spread through food items, as of now. If concerned, cooking the vegetables will mitigate that risk. However, there are precautions and generic guidelines for food safety that you can follow to keep your food safe and free of germs.
Here Are 8 Tips To Wash Fruits And Vegetables Properly Before Consumption:
- Wash produce immediately after shopping
Washing produce immediately before storing can help prevent contamination. This is especially a concern when it comes to pesticide residue on fruits and vegetables.
- Before washing produce, wash your hands
The importance of washing hands to prevent the spread of Covid-19 should be automatic throughout everyone’s daily precautions. Even when you are going to rinse vegetables, you must ensure that your hands are cleaned with soap and water.
- Rinse your produce well in running water
All fruits and vegetable produce that is purchased from any market should be rinsed in running water, while rubbing with hands. This is all that is needed to clean a majority of vegetables. The FDA recommends rinsing produce BEFORE it is peeled so dirt and bacteria aren’t transferred from a knife onto the fruit or vegetable.
- Do not use soap or any detergent
The FDA says it is a complete myth that soap, detergent or any special liquid is required to clean produce. “Gently rub produce while holding under plain running water. There’s no need to use soap or a produce wash.” If damage or bruising occurs before eating or handling, it is best to cut away the damaged areas before preparing or eating.
- Use a brush or sponge if necessary
When cleaning root vegetables like potatoes or carrots, a vegetable brush or sponge should be used to ensure all dirt is removed. Vegetables that have been stored in the refrigerators can develop a “slimy film” which is the early stages of biofilm. Use a clean vegetable brush to scrub firm produce such as melons and cucumbers.
- For leafy Greens, Pick the outer/wilted leaves
For vegetables such as lettuce and cabbage, remove the outer leaves first. If you find any rotten, wilted, or discolored leaves, throw them in the trash. Cut out any part of the stem that seems rotten.
- Certain vegetables and fruits require extra care
There are many fruits, such as berries that may require extra attention during the cleaning process. Many of these fruits can be high in pesticide residue. Place them in a colander and rinse them under running water to remove pathogens.
If you want extra assurance without the risk of introducing a toxic chemical to your produce, try Citri∙Rx Agrumax Dietary Supplement which is a helpful addition to food preparation. To use, the product should be diluted in water (1 drop per ounce), sprayed on fruits and vegetables generously, letting stand for a couple of minutes, and then rinsed.
Agrumax is the original citrus seed extract blend sourced from Canada and has been available for decades by CitriSafe.
- Radhika Gharpure, DVM, et.al. “Knowledge and Practices Regarding Safe Household Cleaning and Disinfection for COVID-19 Prevention.” Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR). Early Release / June 5, 2020 / .