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How to Wash Your Produce Safely

Posted: April 21, 2017

Have you seen produce wash products and wonder, are they necessary? They add unnecessary dollars to the food bill.
Jacquisosa / Pixabay CC0 Public Domain

Jacquisosa / Pixabay CC0 Public Domain

The USDA and FDA recommend rubbing firm fruits and vegetables such as melons briskly with your hands or a produce brush while rinsing them under cold, clean water for a few minutes as an effective way to clean them.

  1. Wash your hands for 20 seconds with warm water and soap before and after preparing fresh produce.
  2. Next, cut away any damaged or bruised areas before preparing or eating.
  3. Gently rub produce while holding under plain running water. There is no need to use soap or a produce wash.
  4. Wash produce BEFORE you peel it. That way dirt and bacteria will not transfer from the knife onto the fruit or vegetable. Bananas are a great example.
  5. Use a clean vegetable brush to scrub firm produce, such as melons and cucumbers. They have lots of bumps and crevices where germs can gather.
  6. Dry produce with a clean cloth or paper towel to get rid of any remaining bacteria.
  7. Throw away or compost the outermost leaves of a head of lettuce or cabbage. Or feed the outermost layers to your Guinea Pig or rabbit if you have one.

Remember to store perishable produce in the refrigerator at 40°F or below.

Refrigerate all cut produce within two hours.

Source: US Food and Drug Administration

Contact Information

Mary Reistetter Ehret, M.S.,R.D.,L.D.N.
  • Extension Educator, Food, Families & Health
Email:
Phone: 570-825-1701