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How well do you wash your fruits and vegetables

If it doesn't fit anywhere else, it fits here

Postby Prof. Wagstaff » Mon Sep 03, 2007 9:06 pm

Donald wrote:The most effective way to decrease food borne illness is to wash hands often and prepare and store food correctly.

Yes.
And when Donald and I agree about something, folks should listen!
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Postby fennel » Mon Sep 03, 2007 9:08 pm

Prof. Wagstaff wrote:
fennel wrote:It stands to reason that washing with some surfactant will do a better job than only water.
I suppose, but it doesn't necessarily mean the difference is of any consequence.


I agree that this has much to do with how much time and effort one is willing to invest, but, for me, it's a question of whether one wants to play Russian Roulette with 5 bullets in the chamber, or only one. If washing one's vegetables with a mild soap solution is a serious logistical obstacle, quickly rinse and move on. But I happen to like to touch my food a bit, to look at it, and fuss a little. So washing is no big deal.

Prof. Wagstaff wrote:Remember: the amount of stuff on your vegetables is almost assuredly pretty harmless before you wash them - rinsing is simply a precaution that's so easy, it just seems silly not to.

I don't think this is clear. The science on this is based on proving harm rather than disproving harm. A fine approach from a pure-science-in-a-vacuum approach, but in matters of industry, profit, and public health, there needs to be a safety check. Lack of proof of harm just isn't good enough. There needs to be an ample body of evidence to indicate harm is unlikely — not simply a lack of evidence one way or the other. For some peculiar reason, neither the F.D.A. nor Monsanto seems willing to fund this type of inve$tigation. Go figure.

But yes, rinse your vegetables. And eat your vegetables.
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Postby fennel » Mon Sep 03, 2007 9:25 pm

Donald wrote:There have been several recent recalls (bagged spinach, lettuce mainly) due to contamination of produce with strains of E. coli. Since it is impossible for federal and state agencies to assure the safety of all food products, it is up to the consumer to take appropriate measures. Washing won't get rid of all the bacteria or pesticide residues, but it will reduce the load.

The most effective way to decrease food borne illness is to wash hands often and prepare and store food correctly.

That's true, in the short term. Washing won't necessarily help in the case of E-coli spinach, though. But in the long term, the most effective way to decrease food borne illness is to limit the use of centralized facilities that process vegetables form multiple sources. It's a matter of processing promiscuity. There's only so much a condom can do, after all.
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Postby Madsci » Tue Sep 04, 2007 8:40 am

I usually wash fruits and vegetables before consumption. Some things, such as fruit, I just rinse. Others things, such as mushrooms, I soak in water to loosen the dirt and then rinse. Our tap water has enough chlorine so I don't feel the need to add anything extra to the water.
You don't need to kill all the organisms on the produce but wash them down the sink. I do at times add a little dish soap to the water if a melon is really dirty.

And then there are times I just eat the stuff right from the garden without washing. I eat mostly organic produce so no worry about biocides (which do not always wash off with water).
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Postby medbh » Tue Sep 04, 2007 9:11 am

fennel wrote:It's a matter of processing promiscuity. There's only so much a condom can do, after all.


Now that's a great analogy! :)
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Postby blunt » Tue Sep 04, 2007 1:19 pm

I give stuff a token swish under a faucet.
(Depending on where I actually met the fruit.)
But I also eat stuff off the floor.
And I ate a piece of chicken that sat out all night.
Too much anti-bacterial soap and your immune system will atrophy because of having nothing to fight.
I am like the cockroach.
I am getting stronger.
Soon I will be invincible.
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Postby fennel » Tue Sep 04, 2007 1:29 pm

blunt wrote:I give stuff a token swish under a faucet.
(Depending on where I actually met the fruit.)
But I also eat stuff off the floor.
And I ate a piece of chicken that sat out all night.
Too much anti-bacterial soap and your immune system will atrophy because of having nothing to fight.
I am like the cockroach.
I am getting stronger.
Soon I will be invincible.

As a matter of fact, it's those mircobes that are growing stronger — because of the use of anti-bacterial soap. It's just another surge to them.

Did you ask yourself whom the chicken sat out with? Does he have a reputation?
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Postby Oprah » Tue Sep 04, 2007 3:20 pm

I like my apple polished, banana scrubbed with vigor, and melons brushed lightly with honey.
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Postby Prof. Wagstaff » Tue Sep 04, 2007 3:31 pm

[quote="fennel"] Lack of proof of harm just isn't good enough. There needs to be an ample body of evidence to indicate harm is unlikely â€â€
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Postby medbh » Tue Sep 04, 2007 3:36 pm

blunt wrote:I give stuff a token swish under a faucet.
(Depending on where I actually met the fruit.)
But I also eat stuff off the floor.
And I ate a piece of chicken that sat out all night.
Too much anti-bacterial soap and your immune system will atrophy because of having nothing to fight.
I am like the cockroach.
I am getting stronger.
Soon I will be invincible.


My attitude about it all as well. But the issue is not just that your immune system will atrophy...it could also get bored and start freaking out (asthma, allergies, etc.). If your immune system doesn't have enough to do, it's going to go find something to do and make trouble.
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Postby barney » Tue Sep 04, 2007 4:17 pm

While a "swish" under water is okay for leafy greens, some fruits / vegetables are better washed with a mild soap (very diluted Basic H or Dr. Bronners works well), although water with friction is enough for some substances. Many conventional fruits and some vegetables are coated with a wax substance to make them hearty for their long journey from field to table. These have been shown to cause an increase in acid production (your tummy doesn't know what the hell is going on and needs to work harder to digest it), leading to heartburn and acid reflux in some individuals.

0ver 90% (!) of instances of FBI (Food Borne Illnesses) occur in the home. You simply cannot be too careful. Yes, organic produce isn't supposed to have pesticides on it, but how many theoretically clean hands have touched it after it was picked? Did all those people wash their hands directly before they touched your produce? What about the clerk who just handled money - aka GermCentral - and is now ringing up your stuff? What about the snot-nosed brat who sneezed all over the produce section?

Dude, wash the produce - unless you're planning on grilling it, or boiling it - then it don't matter.
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Postby Prof. Wagstaff » Tue Sep 04, 2007 4:35 pm

From the Basic H website's pdf:
Although Basic-H is U.S.D.A. approved for hand washing, Shaklee does not recommend the product for personal care...

It is not a food additive and is not for internal consumption.


Dr. Bronner's contains jojoba oil, which is pretty much (the same as ear-)wax, which you elsewhere stated was bad for digestion.

You guys would've made P.T. Barnum proud. What bad experiences did y'all have with veggies as a child to make you so fearful?
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Postby blunt » Tue Sep 04, 2007 6:39 pm

Produce, okay.
Just NEVER wash your branch and berries with Dr. Bronner's Peppermint soap.
YOUCH!
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