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View Full Version : Washing fruits and vegetables. Seriously, what's the point?



ajhuff
09-26-2012, 03:41 PM
Serious question. Why wash them? I get in case of tomatoes and they all look clean. They are all coated with "food safe wax" so running them under water is pointless since wax is a water repellent. Even if they are covered in salmonella rinsing them only dilutes the nasty. They would still be contaminated. I'm not talking about things like leeks or muddy radishes but things like tomatoes, eggplant, apples, etc.

Is it just mental?

-AJ

PS I don't wash chicken either. CDC agrees with me on that.

Mr.Magnus
09-26-2012, 04:27 PM
i wash my fruits and vegis. always will.

Zwiefel
09-26-2012, 04:47 PM
Serious question. Why wash them? I get in case of tomatoes and they all look clean. They are all coated with "food safe wax" so running them under water is pointless since wax is a water repellent. Even if they are covered in salmonella rinsing them only dilutes the nasty. They would still be contaminated. I'm not talking about things like leeks or muddy radishes but things like tomatoes, eggplant, apples, etc.

Is it just mental?

-AJ

PS I don't wash chicken either. CDC agrees with me on that.

It may be different for restaurant supplies, but most produce in grocery stores has already been rinsed many times since leaving the field...and most Kroger stores rinse them several times/day with an automated system. I think it not a fruitful (heh) activity.

I do it anyway though...don't want mom to smack me if I get caught. :rofl2:

ajhuff
09-26-2012, 04:50 PM
Good point. Our grocery plays a recording of thunder and then mists everything. Seems like its about every 15 minutes.

-AJ

markenki
09-26-2012, 05:11 PM
If you're rinsing fruits and veggies to get rid of bacteria, you want to use a vinegar solution, not just plain water.

El Pescador
09-26-2012, 05:43 PM
As someone who has first hand experience with working on a produce farm (we owned strawberry fields) or in a packing house you'll change your mind about not washing your veggies. I spent time around tomato packing houses in the 90's and I can tell you first hand that they are some of the dirtiest places on earth. Our fields teamed with rodents and all the animals that ate them,bug, snakes, etc.

You are also expecting that the sanitary measures that the packing houses are 100%, all the time- again not the case. There's a reason that people get e-coli and salmonella poisoning every year in spite of the measures taken.

ajhuff
09-26-2012, 05:52 PM
I rinse fruit and vegetables but i want to know if it is really necessary. I understand what you are saying but that means the e-coli is underneath the wax on the tomato. So in that case rinsing wouldn't do anything. If it's on the outside then you only dilute the e-coli not wash it away.

Is there a logic driven reason for rinsing or is it just a mental feel good thing?

-AJ

Mike9
09-26-2012, 06:00 PM
I think they hose down veg in the stores to add weight to them. I got the stink eye from the produce guy once for shaking the lettuce to get the excess water out. "Produce misting has begun please stand back . . ." in a pig's titty!!

James
09-26-2012, 06:05 PM
this article may be of interest: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=14540742

washing and cleaning is all about reduction, not elimination. eliminating all of the bacteria is not really feasible or necessary.

Zwiefel
09-26-2012, 06:15 PM
I think they hose down veg in the stores to add weight to them. I got the stink eye from the produce guy once for shaking the lettuce to get the excess water out. "Produce misting has begun please stand back . . ." in a pig's titty!!

that too...with some produce (celery and lettuces in particular) this keeps them plump, crisp, and fresh...obviously that plays right into weight.

kalaeb
09-26-2012, 06:37 PM
Because I have seen the amount of people that, poke, feel, press etc every piece of produce in the store....and i know most those people dont wash their hands.

tk59
09-26-2012, 07:21 PM
A little filth is good for you, lol. We bred dogs for a lot of years. It was pretty telling to see how dogs raised in "clean" spaces obviously had a lot more health issues than dogs raised in "dirty" places. I'm less worried about a few germs (not big a$$ colonies or anything, mind you) than I am about pesticides.

I don't think rinsing does much but I do it anyway unless I think the food is going to absorb a ton of water. Then, I just brush it off and use it.

Mucho Bocho
09-26-2012, 07:30 PM
+1 TK Its proven that children raised in an environment rich in bacterial, fungi flora have stronger immune systems. farms, animals in general, ocean..

ThEoRy
09-26-2012, 10:56 PM
The pickers are way out in the fields eating fruit all day. Miles away from a bathroom. Running water. Soap. Toilet paper. Nahmean?

Lucretia
09-27-2012, 12:12 AM
this article may be of interest: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=14540742

washing and cleaning is all about reduction, not elimination. eliminating all of the bacteria is not really feasible or necessary.

Interesting article.

Our grocery has most of its produce loose in bins, so no telling who's been putting their cooties all over it. Depending on what item it is, I'll use a little dishwashing soap on it--seems to cut through the wax on apples, tomatoes, etc. I might have to give the vinegar solution a try.

Cutty Sharp
09-27-2012, 12:39 AM
I'm surprised only 1 person has mentioned chemicals - pesticides, herbicides - and for me this is the #1 priorty with rinsing, depending on what I've bought. Doubly so if you've got a pregnant wife like me or children around. As for hygene, sure water's only go reduce surface bacteria some, not entirely, but that's still an improvement.

Just wondering - for those of you who've been to chef school, what is usually said about this topic there? People's obvious worry is not seeing bugs or dirt in their food, but I think chemical contamination could be worse.

ecchef
09-27-2012, 12:46 AM
You also don't know what those trucks that transport the stuff were hauling before the produce got loaded.

sachem allison
09-27-2012, 01:02 AM
I rinse fruit and vegetables but i want to know if it is really necessary. I understand what you are saying but that means the e-coli is underneath the wax on the tomato. So in that case rinsing wouldn't do anything. If it's on the outside then you only dilute the e-coli not wash it away.

Is there a logic driven reason for rinsing or is it just a mental feel good thing?

-AJ
A large part of washing isn't bacterial removal it is pesticide and chemical residue removal, You wash it and 75 -80% more chemical residue is removed than if you don't. at least here, less and less places are using the carnauba wax on the fruits and tomatoes. They really aren't a protective coating they are a marketing ploy. People will always by the shiny perfect apple or tomato over the lumpy, dull, scarred one.

Ratton
09-27-2012, 07:47 AM
Hi There,

After reading this article, "http://www.michaelandjudystouffer.com/judy/articles/vinegar.htm",
several years ago, I always user hydrogen peroxide and vinegar to wash my fruit and veggies with!!

It is an interesting read!!

Cheers!!!!...... :yammer:

Xuster
09-27-2012, 10:50 AM
My friend's mom used to soak her fruits and veggies in salt water for a few minutes then wash. It was a fascinating experience eating mildly salty fruit. I just rinse with water though. I don't really care about the buggies, more the chemicals.

And FYI, those freaking sprinklers in grocery stores...they scream LEGIONELLA!!!!! RUNNNNNNN :running:

Craig
09-27-2012, 11:23 AM
Count me in the crowd that think a little dirt/germ is good for you. I can't imagine disinfecting food before I eat it. I'm not at all afraid of the pesticides that are put on food, nor do I think there is a particularly good reason for anyone to be.

However, the places I get my produce don't have the sprays, so I usually give them a rinse just to get dust and grit off before I eat. Dirt has a really unpleasant texture.

Eamon Burke
09-27-2012, 11:53 AM
I rinse them because they are dirty.

rajks
10-10-2012, 07:03 AM
Serious question. Why wash them? I get in case of tomatoes and they all look clean. They are all coated with "food safe wax" so running them under water is pointless since wax is a water repellent. Even if they are covered in salmonella rinsing them only dilutes the nasty. They would still be contaminated. I'm not talking about things like leeks or muddy radishes but things like tomatoes, eggplant, apples, etc.

Is it just mental?

-AJ

PS I don't wash chicken either. CDC agrees with me on that.

Be careful about washing any things.Thanks

scotchef38
10-10-2012, 08:24 AM
While I agree about a little bacteria being essential,i always wash my fruit and veg.The USFDA has a great twitter site that may change your opinions.If you cook professionaly you have an obligation to minimise risk as much as possible.

Korin_Mari
10-10-2012, 10:22 AM
The pickers are way out in the fields eating fruit all day. Miles away from a bathroom. Running water. Soap. Toilet paper. Nahmean?

LOL Something I have never thought about... and never wanted to even consider.

I usually just rinse my veggies, but I always scrub my fruit with vinegar. Forgetting the people who are raising the fruits, you have to remember the thousands of people who are handling them before you.

Anderson
12-12-2012, 02:27 AM
Fruits and vegetables are best food and good for health but we should wash them before eating. It will be good for our health. I always wash vegetables and fruits and i suggest everyone to do this.

quantumcloud509
12-12-2012, 04:56 AM
Ask my mom.

Burl Source
12-13-2012, 04:58 PM
At first I thought the question was meant to be tongue in cheek, but looks like I was wrong.
I wash everything before using it. Maybe more than needed but nobody get's diarrhea when they eat at our house.
When we eat out there is a 1 in 3 chance at least one of us will get sick.

My thinking is that if a place is not sanitary there is no way I am going to eat anything there.

Someone mentioned workers eating fruit/veggies in the field.
I don't even want to think about the parasites they have living inside of them.

This is a short blurp I copied from the CDC about sources of parasites in humans.

Raw vegetables that have been contaminated by human or animal feces;

Some foods are contamined by food service workers who practice poor hygiene or who work in unsanitary facilities.

Symptoms of foodborne parasitic infections vary greatly depending on the type of parasite. Protozoa such as Cryptosporidium spp., Giardia intestinalis, and Cyclospora cayetanensis most commonly cause diarrhea and other gastrointestinal symptoms. Helminthic infections can cause abdominal pain, diarrhea, muscle pain, cough, skin lesions, malnutrition, weight loss, neurological and many other symptoms depending on the particular organism and burden of infection. Treatment is available for most of the foodborne parasitic organisms.

Here is a photo of what you ate when you didn't wash your veggies.
http://www.tnmanning.com/5893ffa0.gif

Crothcipt
12-13-2012, 07:22 PM
Also you can have the same symptoms with some one using to much bleach to sanitize. Many times people use to much which is easy to get crossed with food, when prepping. In some places using bleach is against the law to use for sanitation in a restaurant.

Not to take anything away from washing veggies either.

jmforge
12-14-2012, 05:18 PM
So if soaking them in salt water briefly makes these items taste salty, what does that say about their ability to absorb things, oh, say like chemicals? Sound like runing them under the tap will get that stuff out of the skin? :biggrin:
My friend's mom used to soak her fruits and veggies in salt water for a few minutes then wash. It was a fascinating experience eating mildly salty fruit. I just rinse with water though. I don't really care about the buggies, more the chemicals.

And FYI, those freaking sprinklers in grocery stores...they scream LEGIONELLA!!!!! RUNNNNNNN :running:

Burl Source
12-16-2012, 03:16 PM
I use a large bowl or one side of the sink and put the fruit/veggies in cold water to soak.
When I am ready to use them I use a scrub brush or green pad and scrub each piece and rinse.

We also buy organic when available to avoid pesticides and chemicals.

XooMG
03-08-2014, 07:03 AM
I use a large bowl or one side of the sink and put the fruit/veggies in cold water to soak.
When I am ready to use them I use a scrub brush or green pad and scrub each piece and rinse.

We also buy organic when available to avoid pesticides and chemicals.
If I recall correctly, organic foods from larger sources are typically not free of pesticides or fungicides and often have especially noxious ones. Smaller farms, both conventional and organic, are more likely to be low in or free of pesticides.

scotchef38
03-08-2014, 10:08 AM
If you have any doubts about washing fruit and vegetables regardless of where they come from,just google melon poisoning US and you will find posts relating to 33 deaths in 2011 from Listeria poisoning due to Rockmelons that were not washed before being eaten.There was also a similar outbreak last year although thankfully not as severe in terms of fatalities.

jamaster14
03-08-2014, 12:23 PM
They are all coated with "food safe wax" s

i think this is probably the disconnect. you are assuming the product you are getting has been treated and cared for properly before getting to you and done so downt o the letter of the law. I can tell you first hand that is most certainly NOT the case. And i certainly would never go on faith that it was the case when serving customers or my family and friends.

also as mentioned here, their are other ways to clean and wash produce besides running it under some water

99Limited
03-08-2014, 11:21 PM
I only wash fruit and veggies if they're dirty, otherwise it's chow time. I'm a full blown believer that you need to ingest tiny amounts of nasties throughout your life to build up your immune system.

panda
03-09-2014, 01:51 AM
I only wash fruit and veggies if they're dirty, otherwise it's chow time. I'm a full blown believer that you need to ingest tiny amounts of nasties throughout your life to build up your immune system.

+1, ya'll are paranoid.

XooMG
03-09-2014, 04:47 AM
With washing, you still ingest small quantities of stuff. The amount of bacteria necessary to reliably cause food poisoning is still undetectable to the human eye, and there are many things which are only harmful (i.e. not immunity-building) and cumulative. If I'm discarding parts or cooking, I wash less thoroughly, but I still wash. I also wash my hands, though there are plenty of people who regard that as paranoid too

gic
03-09-2014, 09:22 AM
I agree with Mari about fruits and believe even more is true: many kinds of melons in particular absolutely *must* be cleaned vigorously with something like vinegar or soap and water. This is because the skin is sort of "fractal" with an immense amount of surface area that isn't obvious. So, simply cutting through the skin even with a sharp knife is enough to bring sufficient bad bacteria inside to make you really really sick if the melon was contaminated. See numerous articles that a quick google search will find.

Cantaloupes in particular are really potentially bad news if not cleaned vigorously

99Limited
03-12-2014, 02:47 AM
... Cantaloupes in particular are really potentially bad news if not cleaned vigorously

Holy cow, I must be dead!!!! I've been eating cantaloupe for over 50 years and it has never occurred to me that you should wash them. I really wish I hadn't have read this post. Now the next time I cut up a cantaloupe I'm going to end up sick as a dog, NOT.

Now granted I'm just making fun here. I do see your point that the skin of cantaloupes can be a prime storage area for bacteria and what not. Maybe I need to rethink my routine for handling fruit and veggies, after all when I'm cooking I wash my hands about every two minutes. Can't have your hands too clean.

banjo1071
03-12-2014, 08:28 AM
Hi
There are two reasons for washing the vegs:
1. Get of the dirt and bacteria
Thats possible with just water, given enought time and sweat. The pH of normal vinegar (lets say its 2-3), is much to weak to kill any bacteria. Its very good again calciumstain, though
2. Getting rid of the chems:
Impossible with water. Apart from the wax coating, almost every pesticide is highly lipophilic, almost impossible to wash it of with water. Also totally usesless is vinegar, since it is hydrophilic. Your best bet ist to rub the dry fruit with a clean towel..

Greets
B

gic
03-12-2014, 10:35 AM
i wasn't joking in the slightest, I started vigorously cleaning melons years after a few people died where i was living from salmonella

The most recent serious cantaloupe salmonella outbreak i think was in summer 2012, killed 2 people and apparently listeria infections happen all the time from melons because of transfer from the skin to the fruit when cutting.

gic
03-12-2014, 10:40 AM
Re Vinegar: authoritative article here (granted these were industry scientists)

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9713753

survey with references here:

http://www.versatilevinegar.org/pdf/Cleaning%20with%20Vinegar.pdf

so Vinegar seems to actually work pretty well from the abstract but to make it work best you have to salt the solution apparently which i will now start doing!

Scrap
04-26-2014, 11:04 AM
I am completely for living a little closer to bacteria and whatnot - it's good for you to be exposed to it. That being said I vinegar wash my stuff because pesticides aren't something your body builds immune resistance to.

Mucho Bocho
04-26-2014, 11:59 AM
Vinegar does not clean off pesticide residue from food. A surfactant is required to break the surface tension of non-polar compounds by a polar solution. oil and water don't mix. Vinegar just changes the pH but it's still a polar solution. That's why it kills pathogens.

To remove the pesticide warm/hot water with some sort of mild detergent and rinse well. This works for skinned fruits/veg. But lousy for leafy things. Those I choose to soak in salted cold water. Really all you can do anything for fresh herbs is rinse them.

I always salad spin my fruit/veg after they get washed. I do not use a vinegar solution to clean my foods. I do wash my chicken and all meat for that matter. My logic is in trying to reduce the bio load on the food rather than sanitize it by washing.