We've all heard we should wash our produce before eating it but does it really matter? In short, yes. There are three good reasons you should start washing your fruit: dirt, microorganisms and human pathogens.
on fruit and veggies often contain natural fertilizers like manure. Do you want to put bits of animal fecal matter into your mouth? I don't think so. According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) fruit and vegetables can also be contaminated by animals and poor hygiene among the workers who handle the produce before purchase.
like yeast, mold and bacteria work hard to make your fresh produce spoil (about 20 percent of all produce is lost to spoilage caused by microorganisms). Certain foods are more prone to growing yeast, mold or certain types of bacteria, but all three can give you a nasty stomach ache if eaten.
like E. coli, Salmonella, hepatitis A or Listeria could live on the unwashed surface of the apple you're about to bite into, making you gravely ill.
These steps apply to all fruits and vegetables - even the ones with hard skins.
Produce like cantaloupe and potatoes have a rough surface that harbor dirt. These should be washed before cutting them to prevent bacteria spreading throughout the flesh as you cut through with a knife.
like lettuce, kale or broccoli and some fruits (including most berries and apples) should be washed right before you eat them. Their shelf life decreases after they've been washed and their likelihood of growing mold increases so be sure to consume quickly after rinsing.
Soaking won't actually wash off the grime (and just lets your produce sit longer in contaminated water) Instead, use a colander. The FDA says to rinse produce with running water and allow the water to go down the drain. They also recommend not using soaps, detergents or commercial washing products.
Know what produce to pay particular attention to
When you don't wash contaminants off of your fruits and veggies, you could be exposing yourself to about 14 different pesticides a day. So rinse your produce, put your mind to ease and enjoy.
Kristina Tieken is a staff writer for FamilyShare, public relations specialist with a love for the fine arts, food and exercise. She enjoys watching movies and spending time with her husband and family.