Tips for Safely Cleaning Your Produce and Groceries

Tips for Safely Cleaning Your Produce and Groceries

June 17, 2020

During the COVID-19 pandemic, many people have had questions about the extent to which they need to clean and sanitize their produce and other groceries when bringing them home from the store. Unsurprisingly, there are a lot of misconceptions that have been floating around, even before the pandemic struck, but especially in the wake of the spread of the virus.

Here are a few things you should know about safely cleaning your produce and other groceries in Walla Walla County, WA:

  • Do not rinse meat before you cook it: There is a misconception that you should rinse meat before cooking it to remove any bacteria. However, this is not necessary. Any bacteria that might be clinging to the meat will die when it’s cooked. You might actually do more harm than good by rinsing, because the bacteria on the meat could spread to other locations in your kitchen, resulting in cross contamination.
  • Do not use soap or produce spray for cleaning fruits and vegetables: According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), you should not use any kind of commercial produce spray, soap or detergent to wash your produce in Walla Walla County, WA. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offers the same guidance. The residue from these soaps can stay on the produce. Simply rinse with water and scrub with a clean cloth if you wish to wash your produce.
  • Do not use diluted bleach: One would think this should go without saying, but in the time of COVID-19, when people are using bleach products and disinfectants more than ever, it is important to remind you that you should never use bleach products (even when very diluted) to clean produce. While bleach is highly effective at destroying viruses and harmful microorganisms, it is not safe for ingestion. Never, ever wash produce with any kind of bleach solution, no matter how diluted.
  • Bristle brush: For produce that has a tough exterior, such as melons, pineapples or certain citrus fruits, you can use a stiff bristled brush to clean the produce under running tap water. That will be sufficient.
  • Clean before cooking: For fresh produce, it is recommended by the CDC that you rinse your fruits and vegetables before eating, cooking or cutting, unless the packaging says the produce was already washed. Even if the item has a peel, the dirt and germs on the peel or skin can get inside the fruits and vegetables while you cut, so it’s a good idea to wash under running water before cutting.
  • Damaged and bruised areas: Don’t bother washing areas that are damaged or bruised. Instead, simply cut them off and throw them away.
  • Drying: When drying fruits and vegetables after you have cleaned them, use a clean, dry paper towel that you can then easily throw away.
  • Leafy greens: Leafy greens like spinach, leeks and kale should be placed in a bowl of cold water, swished around, lifted out and drained in a colander.

For more information about washing produce safely when you bring it home in Walla Walla County, WA, contact Supreme Cleaning Services today with your questions.

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