Food Safefty Top Tips - How to wash Fruit and Veg.

Most of us are aware of the importance of handling raw and cooked meat safely, but neglect the risks of food poisoningfrom fruit and vegetables.

It is crucial to wash and rinse fruit and vegetables before eating or using to make sure they are safe to eat.

Dispite the systems food producers have in place to clean vegetables the risk can never be entirely eliminated. Not cleaning your greens can will often result in harmful bacteria being ingested.  


How should fruit and vegetables be washed?

  • The majority of harmful bacteria are in the soil attached to the produce. Removing all traces of soil is very important.
  • Don't just run them your fruit and veg under a running tap. Make sure you submerge them under water, for example in tub of clean water.
  • Washing loose produce is particularly important. This is because they tend to have more soil attached when compared to pre-packaged produce.
  • We always recommend that you wash all fruit and vegetables before eating them raw.
  • The process of peeling and cooking fruit and veg is also and effective way to remove bacteria.


Key advice for safely storing, handling and cooking raw vegetables

  • Always wash your hands before and after handling raw food. This includes fruits and vegetables.
  • Keep unwashed fruits and vegetables separate from ready-to-eat ones.
  • Use different chopping boards, knives and utensils for raw and ready-to-eat foods, or wash these items thoroughly in between uses.


Avoiding cross-contamination

  • Reduce the risk of splashing bacteria around the sink but submerging the fruit of vegetables in clean water rather than running under the tap.
  • Wash the least soiled items first and give each of them a final rinse.
  • Before washing, brush off dry soil to reduce the amount of washing required to clean the vegetables completely.
  • As always, it is important to clean chopping boards, knives and other utensils after preparing vegetables in order to prevent cross-contamination.


How bacteria gets onto fruit and vegetables

  • Bacteria can get onto fruit and vegetables from many different sources. They can be expected to come from the water used in irrigation, fertilisers and the droppings from birds and animals.


Should I not handle loose vegetables when out shopping?

  • There is little to no risk of infection from handling loose fruit and vegetables
  • It is not necessary to wash your hands after handling loose produce if you are out shopping. 
  • Good hygiene practice is observed however and it is recommend that you wash your hands before eating or preparing food after handing uncleaned fruit and veg.


Should I avoid buying fruit and vegetables with soil on them?

  • No. Most fruit and vegetables are sold with some soil on them. We advise it is good practice to remove as much soil as possible when preparing your produce.
  • Remember; loose veg usually involves more preparation compared to pre-packaged veg.



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