Washing fruits and vegetables correctly is very important.
The Food and Drug Administration recommend the following preparation tips for fresh produce (http://www.fda.gov/fdac/features/2007/207_foodsafety.html.
*Pre-cut, bagged produce items like lettuce are very popular in grocery stores. If it is pre-washed, it will be stated on the packaging. No further washing is necessary for these pre-washed items.
*As a precautionary measure, you may wash the produce just before you use it. Pre-cut or pre-washed produce in open bags should be washed before using.
- As with all cooking, begin with clean hands. Wash your hands for 20 seconds with warm water and soap before and after preparing fresh produce.
- Trim away any damaged or bruised areas on fresh fruits and vegetables before preparing or eating. Produce that looks rotten should be discarded.
- All unpacked fruits and vegetables, as well as those packaged and not marked pre-washed, should be thoroughly washed before eating. This includes produce grown conventionally or organically at home, or produce that is purchased from a grocery store, vegetable/fruit stand or farmer’s market. Wash fruits and vegetables under running water just before eating, cutting, or cooking.
- It is still important to wash all fruits and veggies that you are going to peel.
- It is not recommended to wash fruits and vegetables with soap or detergent or use commercial produce washes.
- With a clean produce brush, clean produce such as melons and cucumber.
- After washing, dry produce with a clean cloth, towel or paper towel as this may further reduce bacteria that may be present.
Source: Nebraska Extension Service.