Why wash products?

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Washing produce is important to remove dirt, bacteria, fungi, insects, and pesticides. Organic produce may have more insects, while conventionally grown produce may have traces of pesticides. Different techniques are required for different types of produce.

Consumers are urged to wash produce before consumption for a variety of reasons, whether organic or conventionally grown. Some types, especially leafy greens such as lettuce, spinach and chard, need to be washed even more thoroughly because they grow in close contact with irrigation water. If you wash your produce, you will ensure that it tastes better and reduce the risk of eating contaminated food.

The most important reason for washing products is to remove surface dirt, bacteria, fungi, insects and slugs. Organic produce, in particular, tends to have a higher population of slugs and insects, which isn’t unhealthy, but can result in an off-flavor or texture. All products also carry a certain amount of dirt, be it a root vegetable or fruit from the tree. It’s also a good idea to wash produce so you can remove bacteria and fungi, which occur naturally on most crops, but can cause stomach upset.

Consumers should also wash conventionally grown produce because it often has traces of pesticides and in some cases herbicides. Conventional farms use pesticides to prevent infestation of their crops, and consuming pesticides is dangerous, even in small quantities. In some cases, farms use genetically engineered “round-up ready” crops that are engineered to resist certain herbicides, preventing the crops from being overtaken by aggressive weeds. Many herbicides are also harmful and if you wash your produce you will get rid of many of these dangerous trace chemicals.

Even the products are managed by a large number of people. Even highly mechanized agricultural operations display produce by human hands, and product handlers in the supermarket often handle produce extensively. Finally, individual shoppers also manage fruits and vegetables as they choose the perfect produce. Many grocery store shoppers don’t wash their hands before handling produce, so it’s up to you to wash the produce and remove any bacterial traces it may have left behind.

All types of products can be washed, although different techniques are required for different types. Many markets also sell specialty soaps and washes for the produce. To wash tough produce like root vegetables and some fruit from trees, scrub them with a produce brush under running water. For more delicate vegetables such as leafy greens, wash the produce under cold running water until surface dirt is removed and then use a salad spinner to dry it. Fruits and berries should also be washed, especially fruit that grows on the ground, such as strawberries.

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