I know it's important to wash fresh fruits and vegetables. Is it necessary to use soap or produce sprays?

Answer From Katherine Zeratsky, R.D., L.D.

No. You don't need soap or sprays. Running water and a little scrubbing should adequately remove dirt and germs from fresh produce.

To lower your risk of food poisoning (also called foodborne illness), follow these steps to wash fresh fruits and vegetables:

  1. Wash your hands with warm water and soap before and after preparing fresh produce.
  2. Wash produce before you cut or peel it, so dirt and bacteria aren't transferred from the knife onto the fruit or vegetable.
  3. Hold produce under plain running water and gently rub the surface.
  4. Use a clean brush to scrub firm produce, such as melons, sweet potatoes and cucumbers.
  5. To dry produce after washing, use a clean cloth or paper towel. This will further reduce bacteria that may be present.

What about packaged produce, such as bags of ready-to-eat salad mix? If the package says that the contents have been prewashed, no additional washing is necessary.

June 04, 2019 See more Expert Answers