Fruits and vegetables are a vital part of a healthy lifestyle and Australians are fortunate to have access to a diverse array of seasonal locally grown produce throughout the year. Just like other food items, it’s important to handle fresh produce with care to ensure that they are safe to eat.
As many fruits and vegetables are eaten raw, it’s essential to wash them before consumption. Below are a couple of reasons on why this is so important.
To reduce the risk of exposure to microorganisms and bacteria that can make us sick and cause food poisoning. This can include E. coli, salmonella and listeria.
To remove dirt and soil that maybe found in fruits and vegetables. More common in vegetables such as lettuce or broccoli as they are grown in the soil, however, can be found in any fresh produce.
The Australian Institute of Food Safety has an 8-step guide on how to best wash fruits and vegetables to remove visible dirt or harmful pathogens that maybe present on the fresh produce.
Have a look at the package label before consuming. If in doubt, just give a quick rinse under the tap. According to Cathy Moir of CSIRO Agriculture and Food, a good rinse in fresh water is enough from both a practical and safety perspective.