A video that featured a doctor washing and vigorously scrubbing his produce recently went viral (goes…maybe we should retire that phrase for now…anyways…). Now, it seems as if many people have been left with the impression that lathering your soup up is a good idea. But is it? Should you wash produce with soap?
We will explore in this short blog post. If you want to learn more about COVID-19 and food safety, check out this post.
So, should I wash my produce with soap?
Well, the answer is no, you should not.
Because many surfaces of produce are porous, the piece of produce may absorb some of the soap or detergent. While consuming a small amount of soap likely won’t hurt you, consuming a lot of it over time can cause nausea, diarrhea, or other GI upset.
I’ve also heard a rumor that it’s advisable to soak produce in diluted bleach. This is not safe, and should absolutely be avoided. Bleach, even if diluted, may be toxic.
And while there’s no harm in wiping the outside of boxes, containers or bags with Clorox wipes, never wipe the fruits and vegetables themselves with the Clorox wipes, as they, too, contain bleach.
There is no way to remove all microorganisms from your produce. However, studies have shown that running fresh fruits and vegetables under cold water can effectively remove a significant amount of them.
Most commercial fruit and vegetable washes have not undergone rigorous scientific testing to gauge their safety and efficacy, so I can’t speak on them either way.
Some people also use vinegar to clean their produce; however, if avoiding COVID-19 is your primary concern, note that vinegar has not been established as an effective anti-Sars-Cov-2 agent.…