How to clean fresh fruit and vegetables

Whether it is summertime or not you need to be aware that fruits and vegetables can become contaminated and this can be passed on to you and your family.

Your food gets contaminated by harmful substances in the water or soil, animals and workers who have poor hygiene.

During the processing of the foods there is further contamination risk because people are touching it. Once it gets to your home you can cause further contamination by the way you prepare your food or even how it is stored.

Some of the basics include your choosing produce that is not damaged or bruised. The pre-cut watermelons and cantelopes need to be refrigerated or on ice both at the store and once you get it home. We love the convenience of the pre-washed and bagged salads - make sure that they are also refrigerated or on ice and carry these goods in a heat-protected bag when transporting it home.

Further tips to bear in mind whenever you are handling fresh fruits and vegetables:

  • Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with warm water and soap before and after preparing fresh produce.
  • Cut away any bruised or damaged areas before preparing or eating.
  • Gently rub the produce while holding under plain running water. There’s no need to use soap or a produce wash.
  • Wash produce before you peel it, so dirt and bacteria aren’t transferred from the knife onto the fruit or vegetable.
  • Use a clean vegetable brush to scrub firm produce, such as melons and cucumbers.
  • Dry produce with a clean cloth or paper towel to further reduce bacteria that may be present.
  • Always throw away the outermost leaves of a head of lettuce or cabbage.
  • Store your perishable produce in the refrigerator.

Remember, when you invite guests to your home that you have a responsibility to keep them safe. This includes being careful to avoid contamination and resulting food poisoning. If you failed to do what you should then you could be found negligent and facing a lawsuit. Take control of your insurance - prevent claims.