Washing your fruits and vegetables
Best Practices for washing your fruits and vegetables at home begin with you.
1. Wash your hands before and after handling the produce with hot water and soap for 20 seconds.
2. Thoroughly wash your cutting boards and utensils with hot soapy water.
3. Avoid using sponges as they can harbor bacteria
4. Use one cutting board for fruit and vegetables and one for raw meats, fish and poultry.
5. Discard any rotten fruits and vegetables
6. Always wash fruits and vegetables under potable running water to remove dirt and other contaminants.
7. Cut away any damaged or bruised areas and wash both the fruit and the knife after doing so. Harmful bacteria thrive in these areas. If you don’t rinse the fruit and the knife after trimming the bruise you can contaminate the interior of the fruit or vegetable.
8. Wash the produce with your hands not a cloth as cloths can harbor bacteria. If there is a firm skin such as with apples, potatoes or cantaloupe, you can use a scrub brush.
9. Leafy items such as lettuce and spinach should be washed carefully to remove dirt and microorganisms that can be trapped in the inner leaf folds during growth and handling.
10. Wash the rinds of melons before eating to ensure you don’t contaminate the inside of the melon.
11. After cutting fresh produce be sure to refrigerate within 2 hours at 4 degrees Celsius to prevent bacterial proliferation. Be sure they are in a sealed container to prevent cross contamination.
12. Discard any cut fruit or vegetables that were left at room temperature for more than 2 hours.
13. Don’t use soap or detergent to wash produce since these are not approved for use on foods. Vegetable and fruit washes are appropriate.
14. Wash all cutting boards, counter tops and utensils with hot soapy water or a mild bleach solution.