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I don't wash my fruits/veggies- HELP

The good news is that I eat a bunch of fruits and veggies every day- bananas, apples, carrots, tomatoes, broccoli, berries, mushrooms, sweet potatoes, peaches, etc. The bad news is that I never wash any of them before eating. I don't know what it is but I either forget, am lazy, or eating in the car or at the office where there is no sink. At best I will use a paper towel to wipe off dirt on the mushrooms but that is about it. I know it's probably very unsanitary but have never been sick at all from it; convince me that this is pretty bad and that I need to change the habit. Thanks

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  1. Dirt on the vegetables and fruits is not what concerns me. It is the pesticides. I"ve often wondered what effect rinsing the vegetables has on removing the pesticides. After all, if they are sprayed on with substances designed to make them stick to the vegetables, how effective is rinsing them in water?

    Wouldn't you need to use soap? (And yet, I've read cautions against using soap, warning that the residue of soap will make you sick--as well as make the vegetables not taste good.) I guess that I will continue to rinse the vegetables. At least, it's psychologically good for me!

    1. Do you eat organically grown produce? Pesticides and fertilizer are of much more concern than dirt.

      1. I too eat most of my vegetables without washing. And these are regular grocery store items. If there's visible funk, I'll wash it. But otherwise, I'm still here and healthy!

        4 Replies
        1. re: mojoeater

          Me too, only wash if it looks dirty. When i go to my local farm stand, the farmer always hands me some berries or whatever and says "Taste this", and that took away any lingering fear I ever had. I figure he knows better than me!

          1. re: mojoeater

            Unless you're living in France where they basically serve you your veggies at grocery stores and don't let regular folks pick them out, this really isn't a good idea.

            Think of a little kid walking through the store with Mommy. His hand is covered in sticky lollipop and snot. Then he says, look at the pretty red bell pepper. "Me wanna touch," he says. And then you buy it.

            Apart from pesticide/dirt reasons, of course.

            1. re: Halie

              Amend that to: if I'm eating it raw, I'll probably rinse it off, although I don't know how many germs that would actually remove. I'm definitely not going to sterilize it. But when I'm going to cook it, I don't give it a second thought.

              1. re: Halie

                I USED to not wash my produce, but a few too many disturbing actions witnessed in the grocery store made me change my mind.

            2. Excuse me, but you are a little bass ackwards. Mushrooms are grown in sterile soil and don't need washing; shouldn't be washed. Fruit, on the other hand, is deceptive. Feels healthy, but without washing, is potentially harmful. Not only are the above mentioned pesticides present, but other diseases found in third world countries as well. Ever hear of salmonella? Working and health conditions of workers in the third world are not nice. (They eve go pooh, pooh in the fields.) When we lived in Bolivia, cholera bacteria was found on cucumbers in the market a few blocks from our house. Where do you think your fruit & veggies come from, the Garden of Eden? I'm a real slob, just ask my wife. But I'm pretty anal about washing my produce.
              Just a peanut for your thoughts....

              1. I've lived in developing countries for 35 years. I'm not concerned about dirt or bacteria here. I am concerned about pesticide residues both here and in the US. A reason for washing is that most pesticides used on fruit and vegetables are water soluble. Having said that, I'm usually too lazy to wash.

                2 Replies
                1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                  No out breaks of cholera? Do you wash strawberries? They were good disease carriers. Some loony expats ate no fruits or veggies that they couldn't peel.

                  1. re: Passadumkeg

                    I think that you and I lived in Bolivia at about the same time. We never had problems there with the fruit and vegetables (but were in Tarija). There were no strawberries. Back in the time before the internet, back in the 70s.

                    But much has changed since. "Supermarketization" has been a major phenomenon in parts of Asia and in much of Latin America over the past 15 years or so. One result has been the improvement of supply chains including better control over cleanliness and over pesticide residues. An off-shoot is that even traditional markets have safer produicts. Globally there has also been a reduction in the use of persistant organic pollutants (since the Stockholm agreement), which has meant less exposure to toxic chemicals in general.

                2. Some of the berry packages I buy say, "wash before eating". I spray and rinse everything, unless it comes from the wild or my own yard or garden. Then I know.
                  I think it is just wrong for people to suggest that because they feel OK that what they are doing is acceptable, smart or safe. There's always the next time and there's the possibility of cumulative effects of consuming pesticides, or whatever else might apply. One berry with a few germs on it might do you no harm, but what about a dozen berries? Sure, some have really good immune systems. However, I am sensitized to isocyanates. I've learned my lesson about chemicals.
                  Don't misunderstand; I am not phobic or paranoid. I/we eat all kinds of things raw. I don't stand there, using gallons of water, scrubbing every square inch with a toothbrush, either.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Scargod

                    I wash and spray everything even if it Does come from the wild and my own garden. I can't afford not to. I scrub what I can too.... not with a toothbrush, for sure, but with a nylon surgical brush with "a million" little teeth. I'm not eating dirt/soil any time soon.

                  2. I used to think the way you do until a pet tortoise of mine contracted salmonella from a cantalope I'd fed it. It was several years ago with the cantalope salmonella scare in this country...nevertheless everyone who handled the tortoise became ill.
                    The cantalopes had been grown somewhere in South America and it was then I began to pay attention to my handling and proper washing of fruits and vegetables.
                    I don't take chances anymore.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: latindancer

                      I believe that most imported cantelopes in the US come from Mexico, not South America.

                      1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                        My mistake...they must have come from Mexico.
                        Regardless I don't eat melons anymore without washing the rind with soap and water before cutting into it.

                    2. I am a bit lazy too about this, but seriously consider it :


                      1. Almost all pesticides in use are water soluble. A reason for soaking/washing.

                        1. I'm really picky (no pun intended) about my produce. When I shop for fruits or vegetables, I've been known to pick up and examine every apple in the display, if I'm shopping for apples, for example, so that I get the nicest ones. I see other people doing this, too.

                          I'm a clean person and I generally use the hand-sanitizer the market puts at the entry to the produce section. But I have dogs and a cat and between my house and the store I've handled light switches, the garage door, my steering wheel and car controls, various doors and handles, and a shopping cart. I figure other people have, too, before they've picked up and put back the fruit or veggie I then pick up to examine.

                          So, yes, I wash all my fruits and vegetables. It's nothing I go crazy over, no solutions or soaps or half-hour scrub sessions, but everything is rinsed and either dried or drained with paper towels that then go in the trash.

                          As others have mentioned, I don't think it's going to protect me from any pesticide residue, but on those fruits and veggies where that's a concern I look for organic, anyway. But I think it's important to at least rinse produce, especially if you're either going to drag a knife through it or eat it raw.

                          1. You should wash your fruits and veggies. Most of the bacteria comes from people who handle the produce. Ever watch how many people handle the the produce throughout the day and that's just the people buying it. They say about 4-5 people handle the prodcue before it gets to the consumer.
                            Simple wash-
                            Fill your clean sink with water. Add 1/4 c distilled vinegar and 2 tbl salt
                            1 c water, 2 tbl vinegar, 1/2 tsp salt or 1 tbl lemon jc.. Mix well, put in spray bottle.

                            When you cut a piece of fruit the bacteria on the skin goes down into the fruit when the knife psses thru...

                            Do not clean your veggies untill ready to use.