One thing I can be sure of is: Mom is always right! Growing up, my mother would
nag gently remind us kids to wash our produce. It almost took away the excitement of eating it. Do I really have to go through the trouble? Like a normal child, rebellion was a fun part of my day. I would grab a bowl full of grapes and run, after all a little dirt can’t hurt anyone right? Now I have to convince my own children of this simple reminder. But first, I needed to understand “why” myself.
There are obvious benefits in washing and sometimes even scrubbing your fruit and veggies (peel and no peel) This includes using certain food safety precautions just like you would do with raw items. The pathogens can even form into little groups and make communities called biofilm to coat the vegetable or fruit and protects the bacteria from harm.
Not only can washing and peeling protect you, it really enhances the taste. (Now comes the embarrassing confession) I can say that I have always thought a peach was just supposed to have fuzzies. I didn’t comprehend that gently washing and rubbing the peach under water, will get rid of the fuzz. This was the very reason why I never liked peaches. I still don’t understand why the fuzz is there in the first place?
It wasn’t a rule that mom was putting on us children to take away our fun. It’s a gloomy reality. We are all aware of the recent cantaloupe contamination, marking it the deadliest food outbreak in over a decade. In the US, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that 1809 people die each year from pathogens transmitted via food. Click http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_foodborne_illness_outbreaks_in_the_United_States to see food outbreaks since 1963. This is a serious concern.
5-10 strangers have touched your produce before you eat it. This number increases when you consider the farm workers, transportation,delivery and countless people seeking the best apple at the super market…a perfect example was a woman sorting through green beans at the grocery store today. Let’s call her Sally. Sally was diligently filtering the good and bad green beans, when a violent coughing episode caught the best of her. She continued to hack all over the produce. Lord knows the distance those germs traveled. Now imagine the poor unsuspecting victim that puts those coughed on green beans into their bag, to later on rationalize (like I do) that I don’t need to wash the vegetables….after all the cooking process will get rid of the bugs right?
Produce is covered in pesticides and other harmful toxins.
- Know where your food comes from.
- Explore the possibility of buying locally grown produce, this will support other families and bring you top quality
- Grow your own food if you can
- Be picky when you choose your produce- avoid bruised produce.
- Some people suggest using one part vinegar to three parts water (good for removing bacteria, and may help break down wax, too)
- Wash and peel, wash hands and counter tops after handling
- Beware of What’s Lurking on That Peel (fitsugar.com)
- The ‘Clean 15 & Dirty Dozen’ Foods List: How to Safely Consume Fruits and Vegetables (indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com)
- Health Tip: Wash Clementines Before Eating Them (fitsugar.com)
- Simple tips to eating clean, toxin-free fruit (nj.com)
- Is Your Food Safe (rhonda27405.wordpress.com)
- No food safe from contamination, but risk can be lowered (ctv.ca)
- Killer cantaloupe, scary sprouts _ what to do? (seattletimes.nwsource.com)
- Killer cantaloupe, scary sprouts _ what to do? (sfgate.com)
- Irradiation and the ‘Ick Factor’ (opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com)