Antimicrobial wash's or treatments for fruits and vegetables

Asked August 14, 2013, 5:22 PM EDT

I am a dietitian for a school district in Utah and my department was wondering about the uses of antimicrobial wash's or treatments for fruits and vegetables we serve to our student population? Is it effective, or necessary? Does a water and vinegar solution work as well? I feel that research is pretty varied on this topic but I was wondering if you had a stance or opinion on the subject. Thanks for your help!

Salt Lake County Utah

1 Response

Based on discussions I have had with food microbiologists, I do not believe that using commercial antimicrobial wash's or water and vinegar solutions is effective. The characteristics of the produce can make it very difficult for these solutions to penetrate into the crevices and folds. Also, because produce is porous, it will absorb chemicals. No washing method completely removes or kills all microbes that may be present on produce but studies have shown that thoroughly rinsing fresh produce under running water is an effective way to reduce the number of microorganisms. Washing fruits and vegetables not only helps remove dirt, bacteria, and stubborn garden pests, but it also helps remove residual pesticides.