How To: Washing Fruits and Vegetables

How To: Washing Fruits and Vegetables


[music] Jason Bolton: Hello, my name is Jason Bolton.
I’m the statewide food safety educator for the University of Maine Cooperative Extension. It’s been known for a very long time that
a diet with several servings of fruits and vegetables can have many health benefits.
But with headlines in the news like “31 people die after eating E. coli-contaminated sprouts,”
or, “17 hospitalized after eating salmonella papaya,” it doesn’t exactly instill confidence. So whether you’re shopping in your Maine farmers’
markets, grocery stores or big-box stores, if you follow these easy steps of washing
your produce, you can reduce your risk of food-borne illness. One way to increase the safety of your produce
is by washing your produce. According to the FDA, washing produce prior to peeling, cutting
or chopping anything in the processing of your produce, will actually reduce the amount
of bacteria that could be present on it. Therefore, decreasing your risk of food-borne illness. In today’s video, we’re going to talk about
proper ways to wash fruits and vegetables. So let’s start with the basics. First, you want to make sure you wash your
hands with warm, soapy water. In addition, you want to make sure that you wash all utensils,
equipment and any contact surfaces with hot, soapy water. You want to make sure you use
clean, cold water to wash your produce. Make sure that water is drinkable. When you’re actually purchasing your products,
you want to make sure that they have intact skins that are not bruised. And you never
want to use detergents to wash your fruits and vegetables. They can leave residues on
the fruits and vegetables, which can be unsafe to consume. If you see a package of produce that’s labeled
as pre-washed, triple-washed or ready-to-eat, make sure that you do not rewash those. You
can actually further contaminate those clean products. So for your fruits and vegetables that have
a thick surface or a tough surface, like potatoes, apples and carrots, you want to make sure
that you scrub the outside of that, removing any dirt. For your fruits and vegetables that have high
surface area or complex fruits and vegetables, like broccoli, cauliflower, lettuce, spinach,
things of that nature, you want to make sure you soak those fruits and vegetables for one
to two minutes in cold water. Your last groups of fruits and vegetables
that you want to look at are your delicate or fragile fruits and vegetables. These are
the ones you want to wash with cold, running water in a colander — things like cherries,
strawberries, blueberries. Also, when you’re done washing your fruits
and vegetables, you have the option to dry with a clean paper towel. This actually will
remove more bacteria, in addition to the washing process. A study done at the University Department
of Maine Food Science and Human Nutrition looked at chemical washes and rinses, like
Fit, that you find at the supermarket. They compared Fit, versus drinking clean, cold
water. It turned out that the clean drinking cold water and the Fit produced the same amount
of bacteria that was present on the surface of most fruits and vegetables. This study was done with blueberries. In addition,
they found that they reduced the same amount of pesticide residues found on the surface
of fruits and vegetables. When you’re done processing your fruits and
vegetables — this means peeling, washing, cutting or any other processing that might
take place — you want to make sure that there’s no temperature abuse that takes place. This
means that after you’re done processing, you want to refrigerate or bring the temperature
of your produce down to 40 degrees or below. In addition, you want to make sure that you
only purchase, cut or peel items — this is your produce we’re talking about — that is
at refrigeration temperature in the grocery stores. [music]