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7 Tips for Cleaning Fruits and Vegetables

7 Tips for Cleaning Fruits and Vegetables

The novel coronavirus pandemic has forever changed our day to day lives. All across Indiana, restaurants and bars have shut their dining rooms and are limited to delivery and takeout. People are now eating at home more than ever, and it’s important to clean your fresh fruits and vegetables properly. You may wonder, can coronavirus be spread by food?

How is COVID-19 transmitted?

COVID-19 is primarily transmitted through the air, via contact with an infected person’s body fluids (from coughing or sneezing) or from contact with surfaces on which an infected person has sneezed or coughed. According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), there have been no reports of the virus being transmitted via food or food packaging.

With more people shopping in grocery stores than ever before, it is crucial to take the time to properly clean your fruits and vegetables. Federal health officials estimate that nearly 48 million people are sickened by food contaminated with harmful germs each year, and some of the causes might surprise you.

Foodborne Illness from Produce

Although most people know animal products must be handled carefully to prevent illness, outbreaks of foodborne illness can come from produce, as well. In recent years, the United States has seen several large outbreaks of disease caused by contaminated fruits and vegetables—including spinach, cantaloupe, tomatoes, and lettuce.

Glenda Lewis, an expert on foodborne illness with the FDA, says fresh produce can be contaminated in many ways. During the growing phase, produce may be contaminated by animals, harmful substances in the soil or water, and poor hygiene among workers. After produce is harvested, it passes through many hands, increasing the contamination risk. Contamination can even occur after fruits and vegetables have been purchased, during food preparation, or through inadequate storage.

Recommendations from the FDA

If possible, the FDA recommends choosing fruit and vegetables that are not bruised or damaged. Also, make sure that pre-cut items—such as sliced fruits—are either refrigerated or on ice. Follow these recommendations to stay safe:

See Also

  1. Wash your hands for 20 seconds with warm water and soap before and after preparing fresh produce.
  2. If damage or bruising occurs before eating or handling, cut away the damaged or bruised areas before preparing or eating.
  3. Rinse produce BEFORE you peel it, so dirt and bacteria aren’t transferred from the knife onto the fruit or vegetable.
  4. Gently rub produce while holding under plain running water. There’s no need to use soap or a produce wash.
  5. Use a clean vegetable brush to scrub firm produce, such as melons and cucumbers.
  6. Dry produce with a clean cloth or paper towel to further prevent the spread of any remaining bacteria.
  7. Remove the outermost leaves of a head of lettuce or cabbage.

 

The original article was featured at www.fda.gov.

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