But do we really need to buy these products?
I asked members of the Ontario Home Economics Association for their take on this matter and I got a range of responses. Despite the fact that each respondent used different words, none of them recommended using fruit and vegetable washes.
“The Canadian Produce Marketing Agency (CPMA) website recommends washing with water,” pointed out Mary Carver. “I have received some consumer comments (complaints) that produce can have a soapy flavour after using a vegetable wash.”
Here’s the official word from Health Canada on washing and preparing veggies safely:
• Wash fruits and vegetables thoroughly under fresh, cool, running water, even if you plan to peel them. This helps prevent the spread of any bacteria that may be present. (This is a general safety tip that may not always apply. For example, you do not need to wash a banana before peeling it.
• Use a clean produce brush to scrub items that have firm surfaces (e.g., oranges, melons, potatoes, carrots, etc.). It is not necessary to use produce cleansers to wash fresh fruits and vegetables.
• Ready-to-eat, bagged, pre-washed leafy greens do not need to be washed again before eating. However, pre-cut or pre-washed leafy greens sold in open bags or containers should be washed before eating.
• Place peeled or cut fruits and vegetables on/into a separate clean plate or container to prevent them from becoming cross-contaminated.
• Refrigerate fresh fruits and vegetables within two hours of peeling or cutting them. Discard any cut fruits and vegetables that have been left at room temperature for more than two hours.
What’s your personal take on washing produce? Do you buy vegetable and fruit washes? Or, are you like one woman I know who scrubs every carrot and apple she can with a stiff bristled brush?