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Does Rinsing Fruit Before You Eat It Really Do Anything?

December 08, 2015 2 min read

We all know we are supposed to clean our fruits and vegetables before we eat them but many of us have been guilty of skipping this step from time to time. We'd rather just eat those berries or bite into that apple. Rinsing can't really do that much, can it? Turns out, it can do a whole lot! Here are 7 things you should know about rinsing produce:

1. Rinsing produce isn't a perfect method, but it is nearly perfect.

“Washing fruits and vegetables can remove 99 percent of pathogens,” says Sanja Ilic, Ph.D., assistant professor of food safety at Ohio State University. Actually, a regular faucet is exactly what her department recommends. Rubbing the surface is even more helpful. That obviously works really well with apples, tomatoes and other smooth produce, but it isn't really that doable for grapes, for example. Either way, rinsing your produce still removes the majority of Salmonella, E. coli, or norovirus that can be lurking on the skin.  

2. Don't bother with soap or produce washes.

They don't help. Period.

3. Sometimes, you need to wash things even if you don't plan to eat the skin or rind.

Cantaloupe is a perfect example of this. The rind has a soft, porous texture that provides hiding places for microbes. Ilic says you should always rinse and scrub cantaloupe before cutting into it. If you don't, the bacteria from the outside can be transferred to the flesh of the fruit through your knife when you cut it.

4. You don't have to re-wash pre-washed salads.

Actually, if you do try to re-wash them, you run a greater risk of cross-contamination. Think about it, if you were also prepping raw chicken to cook for your salad, bacteria from the chicken could end up on your previously clean greens.  

5. You shouldn't wash things by submerging them.

If you are washing a bunch of grapes, and there is one grape with bacteria on it, a water bath will only spread the bacteria. Running water is the safest bet. [bctt tweet="Does Rinsing Fruit Before You Eat It Really Do Anything?"]

6. Cooking will kill most bacteria.

“Cooking is definitely going to remove not 99 percent, but 99.999 percent,” Ilic says.

7. Always rinse.

If you are going to eat raw fruits or vegetables. Always, always, always give them a rinse first. Have you been skipping this important step? Source: SELF

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