Fresh fruits are shipped to your neighborhood market from all over the country and the world. Mexico, Australia and other countries grow, harvest and transport grapes, kiwi, strawberries and other fruits to the U.S. There is a very real risk of contamination from such pathogens as E. coli, salmonella and hepatitis A. The consumer must protect himself by looking for indications of possible contamination at the point of purchase, storing fruit safely at home and cleaning and sanitizing before eating. Properly sanitizing fruit could save your family from symptoms of foodborne illness that include vomiting, headaches, fever and diarrhea lasting up to three days.
Things You'll Need
- Plastic wrap
- Mesh bag
- Vegetable brush
- Chlorine bleach
- Fruit bowl
Choose produce without bruising or blemishes, which allow pathogens to enter the fruit. This includes rind fruit since it can be contaminated when the knife transports to the interior of the fruit as it is cut.
Store produce such as apples, grapes and pears in tightly wrapped plastic in the produce crisper drawer to retard the growth of bacteria. Store naturally ripening fruit such as peaches and bananas at room temperature in a mesh bag in a cool, dry and dark place. Do not wash the produce before storing it in the refrigerator or at room temperature.
Scrub the fruit -- including rind fruit -- with a vegetable brush in a solution of 1 tbsp. chlorine bleach to 1 gallon of fresh clean water. Immerse the fruit in the solution for at least one minute while gently scrubbing it and changing the water frequently. Rinse the fruit thoroughly in clean running water.
Eat the fruit immediately or place it in bowls to be consumed within a reasonable amount of time.
Tips & Warnings
- Sanitize fruits from your garden as you would those from any other source.
- Wash hands with soap and water before handling fruit.
- Sanitize cutting boards and utensils with 1 tbsp. bleach to 1 gallon water.
- Maintain the refrigerator temperature below 40 F.
- Oklahoma State University; Guidelines for the Use of Chlorine Bleach as a Sanitizer in Food Processing Operations; William McGlynn
- Ingram County Health Department: Home Juice Machine
- Piottsburgh Post-Gazette; Soak, Scrub or Spray: Best Way to Clean, Vegetables Is Open to Debate; Patricia Lowry; April 2009
- Photo Credit Creatas Images/Creatas/Getty Images
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