Washing vegetables and fruit properly is important to maintain their worthiness and cleanliness before consumption. If not washed, these healthy foods can turn bad when they have been contaminated with germs. Selecting, washing vegetables and fruit, storing and processing them correctly will protect fruits and vegetables from harmful contamination of germs.
Bacterial, viral, or parasitic contamination can occur when fruits and vegetables are not properly washed, stored or processed.
Fruits and vegetables that can trigger you to experience food poisoning are usually contaminated by E. coli, Salmonella and Shigella bacteria. Among those who are more at risk are pregnant women, the elderly, or people who have a weak immune system.
Usually the signs that you have food poisoning will be seen after a few hours after consuming contaminated fruit or vegetables. The symptoms that you will feel can be nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, stomach cramps, and fever.
How to Get Rid of Germs on Fruits and Vegetables
There are many ways that you can contaminate fruits and vegetables with germs, for example through water used for irrigation or organic fertilizer in the garden. Animal droppings that affect fruit and vegetables can also be a cause.
Fruits and vegetables can also be exposed to germs from your kitchen utensils, such as knives, cutting boards, pans and other devices that you also use to process raw meat or seafood. Raw meat is known to store a lot of germs that can spread to kitchen utensils that come in contact with it.
Hands are the most obvious place to spread germs but are often not noticed when you are managing food.
Remember 4P Before Consumption of Fruits and Vegetables
Before eating fruits and vegetables, do the 4P below to avoid food poisoning.
Selection of fruit and vegetables
Be careful when choosing fruits and vegetables in the market or supermarket. Do not choose products that appear to be damaged or rotten. Some supermarkets often sell fruit and vegetables that have been cut in half, then wrapped in airtight plastic such as watermelons, melons, or cabbage. When buying fruits and vegetables, make sure you choose products that are placed in the refrigerator. Also check the expiration date.
Put fruit and vegetables in your shopping plastic or refrigerator area that is different from the raw meat or seafood area.
Washing is done in a water bath
Arriving at home, wash fruits and vegetables to get rid of germs on fruits and vegetables. Most germs hide in the soil attached to the skin of fruits and vegetables. So, cleaning the soil from the surface of fruits and vegetables is very important.
Washing vegetables and fruit is recommended to do by soaking it in a container filled with water. Wipe the entire surface of the fruit and vegetables. Remember, do not wash vegetables and fruit using soap or detergent. First wash the dirtiest vegetables and fruit then rinse immediately under clean running water.
Washing vegetables and fruit also applies if you want to peel them. Dirty fruit and vegetable skins can spread germs from the surface of the skin to the fruit or vegetable during stripping.
After washing, dry it with a clean towel or tissue. Fruits and vegetables are ready to be consumed or processed.
Storage must be in a cool place
If you intend to store fruits and vegetables after washing, prepare a clean container. Put it in the refrigerator. Storing fruits and vegetables in the refrigerator is useful for maintaining freshness and safety for consumption later.
An important factor when wanting to process fruits and vegetables is hand hygiene, so don’t forget to wash your hands thoroughly before and after processing them.
Don’t use the same kitchen utensils when you process raw meat or seafood to avoid contamination. Or, to save expenses, you can also wash the equipment clean with warm water and soap.
Besides doing 4P, there is an important thing that you must pay attention to, which is always to keep the kitchen clean in order to keep food free from germs. Don’t forget to clean your fridge regularly. Before washing vegetables and fruit, be sure to wash your hands thoroughly because everything you present is directly related to your hands.