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8 Reasons to Wash Your Produce


1. You don't know how many other people have handled that eggplant before you picked it up (or what they had on their hands).

2. In 2008, Newsweek reported outbreaks of food-borne illnesses related to leafy greens were up 39 percent since 1996.

3. Many fruits and vegetables grow close to the ground and can pick up bacteria like E. coli, listeria and salmonella.

4. Pesticides used to kill bugs may linger on the skins of fruits and vegetables.

5. Fertilizers provide a great source of nutrients for plants but can cause illness if they cling to produce.

6. If you don't wash produce before you peel it, the knife you use to cut through the skin can spread bacteria from the outside to the inside.

7. Some produce vendors and grocers apply coatings such as wax to make apples, cucumbers and other foods shinier and more appealing.

8. The immature immune systems of babies and children make them more susceptible to becoming ill from ingesting germs and bacteria from fresh produce.

The FDA recommends rubbing produce while holding it under running water to remove dirt, bacteria and pesticides, most of which are water soluable. The agency says it isn't necessary to use soap, which isn't healthy to consume.

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