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Fruits and vegetables gets contaminated through several ways before reaching the end-user. It can get contaminated by the soil , rain, air and pesticide. It can also get contaminated during harvesting and packaging. Washing produce properly can help eliminate harmful germs or bacteria and can help prevent food-borne illness.
How to wash fruits and vegetables
- Before you begin washing your fruits and vegetables, wash your hand with soap and water till its clean.
- Wash fruits and vegetables under running water before preparing or eating, this includes produce grown at home or bought from a grocery store or farmer’s’ market.
- Discard the outer leaves of cabbage and lettuce, but do not fail to wash the inner leaves.
- Avoid Washing fruits and vegetables with soap, detergent, or any chemical.
- Wash fruits and vegetables first before peeling the skin to avoid transferring dirt and bacteria from the surface into produce when peeling and cutting.
- Scrub firm produce, such as melons and cucumbers, with a clean brush.
- Cut away any damaged or bruised areas on fresh fruits and vegetables before preparing or eating.
- After washing, dry produce with a clean cloth towel or paper towel to further reduce bacteria that may be present on the surface.
- Use one cutting board for fresh produce and a separate one for raw meat, poultry, and seafood.
- Store raw meat, poultry and seafood in a sealed container in refrigerator to prevent liquid from raw meat dripping into fresh produce.
- Avoid using hot water when washing produce. Hot water will cause vegetables and fruit to shrivel, bruise or scald.
- Store your fruits and vegetables in the refrigerator.
- Throw away any produce that looks bad or rotten.
- Submerging produce in water, helps spread bacteria. Running water is a safer option.
- Cooking removes 99.999 percent. But if you are going to eat raw vegetables, give them a good wash first.