Tips To Wash Fruits And Vegetables: Coronavirus has rapidly spread to many parts of the world, and a number of countries are on complete or partial lockdown. Governments are trying their best to ensure supply of essential commodities to the public during these testing times. Food safety and handling is of utmost importance right now. There are a number of people resorting to practices such as washing the fruits and vegetables in soap or detergent before consumption. Research suggests these drastic steps may not even be necessary in the first place.
There is no evidence to prove that Coronavirus can spread through food items, as of now. However, there are some precautions and generic guidelines you can follow to keep your food safe and free of germs. A video by Oovvuu suggests some tips to make sure the groceries that you purchase are safer to consume and are germ-free.
(Also Read: 5 Tips To Protect Against Germs While Shopping For Groceries)
Here Are 5 Tips To Wash Fruits And Vegetables Properly Before Consumption:
1. Before washing produce, wash your hands
The importance of washing hands to prevent the spread of Covid-19 cannot be emphasised enough. Even when you are going to rinse vegetables, you must ensure that your hands are clean. Wash them for at least 20 seconds prior to cleaning fruit and vegetable produce. It is a good idea to wash them afterwards too, as suggested by the FDA.
2. Rinse your produce well in running water
All the fruits and vegetable produce that is purchased from the market can be rinsed in running water, followed by rubbing with hands. This is all that is needed to clean a majority of vegetables. The FDA recommends, "Rinse produce BEFORE you peel it, so dirt and bacteria aren't transferred from the knife onto the fruit or vegetable."
(Also Read: Should You Soak Fruits In Water? Here's The Answer)
Rinsing fruits and vegetables in water is sufficient.
3. Do not use soap or any detergent
The FDA says it is a complete myth that soap, detergent or any special liquid is required to clean produce. "Gently rub produce while holding under plain running water. There's no need to use soap or a produce wash." If damage or bruising occurs before eating or handling, it is best to cut away the damaged areas before preparing or eating.
4. Use a brush or sponge if necessary
While cleaning root vegetables like potatoes or carrots, a vegetable brush or sponge should be used to ensure all dirt is removed. "Use a clean vegetable brush to scrub firm produce such as melons and cucumbers," recommends FDA.
(Also Read: How To Wash Your Greens: 5 Expert Tips To Clean Your Leafy Vegetables)
Leafy greens must be washed with care.
5. Certain vegetables and fruits require extra care
Berries require extra attention during the cleaning process. Place them in a colander and rinse them under running water to remove pathogens. Similarly, lettuce and leafy greens should be placed in a bowl of cold water. FDA also suggests removing the outermost leaves of a head of lettuce or cabbage, and then drying them with a paper towel for best results.
There are certain guidelines that the FDA prescribes apart from these, such as - we must always try and choose produce that isn't bruised or damaged. Further, make sure that pre-cut items, such as bags of lettuce or watermelon slices, are either refrigerated, or kept on ice, both in the store and at home. The FSSAI also tweeted with some recommendations for food safety.
(Also Read: Don't Wash Chicken Before Cooking it, Warns Food Standards Agency)
Meanwhile, it is a good idea to cook your food thoroughly before consuming. "Keep the raw and cooked food separate, especially raw meat and fresh produce," says the World Health Organisation (WHO) in an article on food and nutrition tips during quarantine. WHO recommends consuming a minimum of 400 g (i.e. 5 portions) of fruits and vegetables per day, and reiterated that we must work towards ensuring that the foods we consume are safe and healthy.