You’re Washing Your Hands, But Are You Washing Your Produce?

Why You Should Be Washing Your Fruits & Veggies, Too

You care about your health. You eat your fruits and vegetables and pick the best-looking produce at your favorite grocery store. Maybe you even buy organic. But what happens to your food between the grocery cart and your dinner prep?

Produce in stores may appear to be clean on the surface, but how clean is it really? There are several invisible forces that could be at play beyond what we see visually. Some of the biggest threats are pesticide residues, preservatives, foodborne pathogens, and bacteria. In a time where “better safe than sorry” is top of mind, taking extra care with our veggies is more important than ever.

flickr commons

Photo by Emilia Ciobanu

Are my veggies clean?

Think about it. Every time you peruse the produce section at the grocery store, how many times do you touch an item, pick it up, give it a little squeeze to test for ripeness? How many other people do you think have done the same?  

We know how important it is to wash our hands. Currently, the CDC is reminding us that it’s one of the best ways to keep deadly viruses from spreading. Keeping up on our own personal hygiene is extremely important right now. But we have no way of knowing how diligent anyone else is with their handwashing.   

Furthermore, with studies estimating that most of our fresh produce now travels 1,500 miles before being consumed, it’s pretty difficult to guess how many hands have touched it along the way. 

Photo by Michael Cereghino

So, what’s a shopper to do? For the sake of you and your family’s personal health, it’s best to wash your produce. 

As soon as you bring fruits and vegetables home from the store, give them a quick wash. Then, dry them off with a clean towel or by air-drying before storing them in the refrigerator. There are a few ways to effectively wash produce:

  1. Wash with a vinegar solution. Make a bath of water and vinegar with a ratio of 9:1. Soak your produce in this solution for 5-10 minutes before rinsing thoroughly.
  2. Wash with salt water. Similarly, mixing up a water bath with a 10% salt solution helps to cleanse away bacteria and pesticide residue. Again, be sure to rinse your veggies thoroughly afterwards!
  3. Wash using a soap that’s safe on produce. Remember to check the ingredients list - some commercial washes can do more harm than good. You should be able to clearly identify each ingredient. We make a Produce Wash bar just for this purpose!

produce wash

Photo by Elena Stecca

Our global world is more connected now than ever before. With that comes certain threats to personal and environmental health. It’s up to us to keep this world a healthy place for all living beings. Staying committed to simple routines like proper handwashing and food safety best practices is within our power to make a meaningful impact.

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