Washing food before we consume is important because some foods happen to carry bacteria that can be very damaging to our health. If you do not wash the food you eat, you essentially increase the risk of ingesting the bacteria that lurks on the surface of the foods. Through washing the food we can actually reduce the risk of ingesting the bacteria – for example bacteria such as E. Coli which is usually found in some foods such as spinach, lettuce, salads, fruit etc.
Foods to Wash:
Raw fruits and Vegetables:
Raw fruits and vegetables must always be washed whether they are organically or conventionally grown. This is because fresh produce of all kinds carries bacteria from when it was growing. The bacteria may come from the soil in which the produce was grown, it can even come from insects and birds that may have landed on the produce, or animals that may have wondered into the field where the produce was being grown. This should, however, not always apply to foods such as mushrooms if you intend to keep their flavour and texture as they are quite absorbent. What you can use instead is a pastry brush to brush the soil particles off of them (use your own discretion here). Food that requires peeling should also be washed at all times because the bacteria from outside the peel may end up on the inside part of the food. This can be foods such as apples, melons, citruses, avocados, butternut, pumpkin etc. The aforementioned foods should be given the same importance as the other foods when it comes to washing because the bacteria on the peels can be easily transferred from the peel to the edible part of the fruit while it is being peeled.
Foods to NOT Wash:
Food such as raw meat should never be washed as the bacteria from the meat is likely to spread around the kitchen from the kitchen sink. Raw meat should not be washed because the cooking process generally does the job of killing any bacteria that may be on the surface of the meat. Eggs that are bought from the shop do not require any cleaning as they have gone through a cleaning process. However, eggs that are bought from the farm should definitely be washed before putting them to use. Pre-packaged food is one other item that does not need to be washed as it has gone through a treatment.
Always wash your hands with warm water before you handle your food – this should always be the norm as it ensures that you will not cross contaminate your food, utensils and kitchen.