• By Jason Howland

Mayo Clinic Minute: Why you need to wash your fresh produce

September 24, 2021

Do you wash the avocados before cutting them up for guacamole? How about the melon you'll slice up for the fruit salad — does it get a rinse?

The Food and Drug Administration says, in most cases, you should be washing fruits and vegetables. But there are some exceptions.

In this Mayo Clinic Minute, Angie Murad, a Mayo Clinic dietitian, talks about the best ways to prep your produce for summer meals and snacks.

Watch: The Mayo Clinic Minute

Journalists: Broadcast-quality video (0:59) is in the downloads at the end of this post. Please "Courtesy: Mayo Clinic News Network." Read the script.

"There are fruits and vegetables at the grocery store that aren’t packaged at all, and you would want to bring them home and wash them before you’re eating them," says Murad.

She says there’s no need for soap or a special produce wash. Just use cold water; and, on tougher fruits and vegetables, a small kitchen brush.

"Things like the avocado has a peel already on it, but you should wash the outside. Melons would be another good example," says Murad. "You want to make sure that you wash them well before you cut into them. Because, if they are not washed, you’ll be introducing the bacteria that are on the outside of them into the fruit or vegetable."

If your produce is packaged, carefully read the label to see if it needs a rinse.

"For example, this product is already packaged. It does not say that it’s been prewashed or washed," says Murad.

So Murad will scrub these cukes under cold water, but she won’t do anything to the spinach, which is clearly labeled as having been triple-washed.

"If it’s already been washed, it’s safe to eat," she says.

Add the veggies you’ve already rinsed, and you’ve got a salad that will be safe and delicious.

____________________________________________

For the safety of its patients, staff and visitors, Mayo Clinic has strict masking policies in place. Anyone shown without a mask was recorded prior to COVID-19 or recorded in an area not designated for patient care, where social distancing and other safety protocols were followed.