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How to Properly Wash Produce

Fresh organic vegetables in wooden box on gray

Fruits and vegetables are packed with all kinds of vitamins and minerals, making them an essential part of a healthy and well-balanced diet.  However, without proper washing and preparation, produce can also be the perfect carrier for harmful germs such as Salmonella, E.coli, and Listeria, which cause foodborne illness.

 

 

So, how can you ensure your produce stays healthy and germ-free? 
 

According to the CDC, the safest produce is cooked produce, but who doesn’t love a fresh cherry tomato or ripe strawberry during these hot summer months?  Thankfully, the next safest produce is washed produce!

 

 

Here are some tips to keep your produce clean:  
 
Before touching your fruits and vegetables, you’ll want to wash your hands, utensils, and any food preparation surfaces thoroughly.  Next, unless the produce packaging says it’s been washed, you’ll want to clean it yourself.  
 
To do this, begin by washing or scrubbing the fruit or vegetable under running water.  Even if you don’t plan to eat the peel, wash it!  Germs hanging out on the peel can end up inside fruits and vegetables when you cut into them.  
 
You may be surprised to hear that the CDC does NOT recommend using soap, detergent, bleach solutions, or commercial produce-wash to clean your produce, as the FDA has not evaluated the safety of its residues.  Running water should wash away most bacteria.  
 
Next, if you see any damaged or bruised spots, be sure to cut those away before eating.  
 
Finally, dry your produce with a clean paper towel.
 
While anyone can get a foodborne illness, some groups of people are more susceptible to serious illness.  
 

These groups include:

• Adults aged 65 and older
• Children under the age of 5
• People with weakened immune systems
• Pregnant women
 
Those mentioned in the above categories should take extra precautions when handling fresh produce.  When in doubt, follow CDC guidelines!
 
Wishing you all a healthy Summer!
 
-Next Level Urgent Care  
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