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Washing Fruits and Vegetables

Fruits and Vegetables

Should fruits and vegetables be washed before they are put away?

Fruits and VegetablesThe Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advises we wash our fresh fruits and vegetables when ready to eat them rather than when they're first purchased or picked. Here are some FDA guidelines for safely handling fruits and vegetables.


  • Thoroughly rinse raw fruits and vegetables under running water before eating them. Don't use soap, detergents, or bleach solutions.
  • If necessary -- scrub firm produce, such as melons and cucumbers, with a clean produce brush to remove surface dirt.
  • Try to cut away damaged or bruised areas -- bacteria can thrive in these places.
  • Any bacteria on the outside of fruits can be transferred to the inside when the fruit is peeled or cut. To prevent this, thoroughly rinse fruits that require peeling or cutting - such as cantaloupe and other melons -- under running water before eating them.
  • If buying fresh, cut produce, be sure it is refrigerated or surrounded by ice. After purchase, put produce that needs refrigeration away promptly. (Fresh, whole produce such as bananas and potatoes do not need refrigeration.) Fresh produce should be refrigerated within two hours of peeling or cutting. Leftover cut produce should be discarded if left at room temperature for more than two hours.

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Last Modified: 11/28/11.