To wash or not to wash? From fruit to bagged lettuce to eggs even meat, do you know the right answer?
New research from Consumer Reports is shaking up what we thought we knew about washing our bagged lettuce, eggs, fruit, meat and poultry. Consumer Reports just released information about foods that need washing or rinsing, and the foods that should simply be left alone:
SLIDESHOW: To wash or not to wash
Bagged, prewashed greens: Yes.
In 2010 tests of bagged, prewashed greens, such as ready-to-eat salad, Consumer Reports found bacteria that are common indicators of poor sanitation. A good rinse in a colander and whirl in a salad spinner can remove soil and insects.
Scrubbing the outside of rough-textured produce, specifically dimply cantaloupes, is extremely important in preventing illness caused by food. Bacteria can hide in the small crevices of the fruits and travel inward once a knife cuts through it. Consumer Reports said that scrubbing with a vegetable brush under running water is the surest way to prevent the fleshy part of the fruit from becoming contaminated.
Commercially produced eggs are cleaned as part of the packaging process and don’t need to be washed again. In fact, according to Consumer Reports, water can cause harm by entering the egg through its porous shell, increasing the risk of contamination.
Herbs, just like smaller leaves, are best cleaned in a colander under running water. Tossing them around helps to ensure that all surfaces get rinsed, but in the case of excess dirt and grime, swishing herbs in a clean bowl of water before rinsing is most helpful.
Loose, leafy greens: Yes.
For leafy greens such as lettuce, discard the outside leaves, where dirt and bacteria lurk most. Then separate remaining leaves and wash individually, rubbing gently to dislodge soil. Salad spinners also help by removing excess moisture.
Raw meat and poultry: No.
According to Consumer Reports research, rinsing might rid meat of some bacteria, but those same bacteria will then wind up in the sink or elsewhere in your kitchen within splashing distance. It’s best to simply cook the meat thoroughly, which can kill bacteria once and for all.
Tender produce: Yes.
Produce such as peaches, plums, and tomatoes should be rinsed under cool, briskly running water for 30 to 60 seconds and rubbed with a nylon vegetable brush to help remove soil and pesticides. Cut away damaged or decayed areas and dry thoroughly with a paper towel.