COVID-19 Produce Safety

Spoiler alert! All you need to properly wash your produce is water and a clean work station. But don’t just take our word for it, keep reading for the organizations who also back this!

According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), washing fruits and vegetables with soap, detergent or commercial produce wash is not recommended. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also does not recommend washing fruits and vegetables with soap, detergent or commercial produce wash. Soap or detergent residues can stay on produce. The FDA has not evaluated the safety of residues left from soaps and detergents if ingested.

Bleach can destroy harmful microorganisms, but it should not be ingested! You should never wash your produce with bleach or a diluted bleach solution.

The Partnership for Food Safety Education, recommends cleaning produce properly gently run under cold running water. If you do have a tough exterior to your produce, like melon or pineapple, use a clean stiff bristled brush under running water.

The CDC gives even more detail regarding washing fresh produce. They recommend cleaning fruits and vegetables before eating, cutting or cooking unless the package says the produce have been washed (like packaged triple washed baby spinach). They also recommend washing or scrubbing the produce under running water even if you won’t be eating the peel as dirt or germs on the skin can get inside the fruits and vegetables when you cut them. Also, cut away any damaged or bruised areas before preparing or eating. To dry fruits and vegetables, use a clean paper towel.

For leeks (sliced) or other leafy greens, which can have a lot of dirt, place the produce in a large bowl of cold water, swish it around to remove the grit, lift it out, and drain in a colander. Place the colander inside the bowl so you can easily lift the leaves out (or use a food spinner). If grit is still on the food, then repeat the process.