Thursday 2 June 2011

Washing vegetables

When I rinse fruits and vegetables under the tap before eating them – whether they’re homegrown or not, I often wonder if I’m really doing any thing effective. If it has visible dirt on it, then fair enough. If not, am I really going to make any difference with a quick rinse and a rub? The recent e.coli outbreak in northern Germany has certainly made me think twice about the thoroughness with which I clean fruit and veg prior to eating.

According to this article in The Guardian, it’s a miracle I haven’t offed the entire family with salmonella poisoning on a regular basis. It is one of those articles that in one paragraph quotes an expert saying, don't worry, salad is safe, and in the next, explains how the rates of e.coli, salmomella, campylobacter et al are going through the roof.

Then, at the end, there is this astonishing (well, astonishing for me, anyway) assertion, quoting Stephen Vaughan who owns a food company called All Food Hygiene and who runs food hygiene courses:
"The most sensible way to wash vegetables at home is to use Milton Sterilising Fluid. You need to use a double sink method – one bowl with Milton diluted in water (as per the instructions), then put your fruit and vegetables in there for 20 minutes. Fill the other sink with tap water to wash off the chlorine. It leaves no taste and kills the bacteria."
I have never done this, or indeed anything close to this. I think I don’t know anyone who has ever done this. What would a soft-leaved lettuce look like after 20 mins submerged in the Milton, anyway?

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