Don’t skimp on washing your fruits and vegetables as soon as you get them home from the grocery store or farmer’s market. That’s the word from a specialist in infectious illnesses who’s warning us to take the coronavirus threat seriously.
Are You Bagging Bacteria?
The advice also applies if you’re getting grocery delivery.
Timothy Newsome is a virologist who teaches at the University of Sydney in Australia. In an interview with the British newspaper Mail Online, he reminded us that the virus can survive on the surfaces of fruits and vegetables.
“We have to remember that every surface is potentially contaminated and with any surface there is a risk,” he said.
Newsome suggests using soap and warm water, but he doesn’t say what kind of soap to use.
On a Canadian news show, two infectious disease specialists also suggested washing your produce if you’re not going to peel it or cook it.
Is That Extreme?
Some experts say using soap to wash our produce is going overboard.
A simple water rinse can remove more than 90% of pesticides and bacteria.
In fact, according to food safety expert Teresa Hunsacker, “There is no data that suggests anything more than water will do a better job of eliminating coronavirus on produce.”
You can add a few drops of lemon juice or vinegar to the rinse water. Both are antibacterial.
Here are some tips for food safety:
- Wash your hands in soap and warm water before you handle food.
- Wash fruits and vegetables in clean water. Use a scrub brush for hard produce like carrots and potatoes.
- Don’t wash produce until you’re ready to eat or cook it.
- If you use reusable grocery bags, spray or wipe them with sanitizer.
Would you consider washing your produce with soap? We hope everyone is staying safe out there.
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