Should I Wash Fruits & Vegetables I Buy at the Grocery Store in a Fruit & Veggie Wash?
By Bill Adler, MPH, RS
Technical Food Safety Consultant
Fruits and veggies from the grocery store have wax on them. This keeps the moisture in from the time of picking to the time you buy them. But those waxes and underlying pesticides aren’t good for you. The waxes are known as parabens, and as a chemical class, parabens aren’t good for your kids. In the medical field, parabens are known as endocrine disruptors and shouldn’t be eaten, even if it’s a small amount each time it’s eaten. And then there are the pesticides under the wax. Since pesticides are oils, they don’t come off with a quick flush under the tap, either.
Life’s Pure Balance Fruit and Vegetable Wash dissolves the wax and removes the pesticides so you don’t have to eat them. Put 2-teaspoons in a gallon of water. Let produce sit in it for 2+ minutes, a quick rinse and you’re good to go. That’s it! This is a concentrated citric acid so it doesn’t take much to clean produce. I’ve found it gives us extended refrigerated shelf life by about 2 days. Everything gets washed as soon as we get it home and this gives us a good 12 days of storage. I know of no other fruit and veggie wash that does that. There’s no odor or carry-over residue either.
I get asked all the time if it can be used to wash lettuce, kale, spinach, tomatoes, and so on. Yes, it’s made for all of these. Strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries all benefit, too. Strawberries actually have a porous surface. Raspberries have gaps between the segments. Blueberries apparently aren’t easy to cultivate and growers use up to 4 different herbicides a season. Washing fruits and veggies by rinsing under tap water alone doesn’t do much to protect you from pesticides, pathogens, and other chemicals. If you don’t believe me, do your own internet search. It’s all there. But now that you know, maybe you should wash your produce with Life’s Pure Balance Fruit and Vegetable Wash. You’ll be surprised by the improved taste once you do.
Bill Adler is an expert in food safety, foodborne illnesses, and the food service inspection industry. He has conducted training for the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) teaching local, state, and federal disease investigators as well as working with laboratory specialists and epidemiologists. Bill has worked extensively with the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) to perform food service inspections and train local and state public health employees.
Back a few years ago when the economy was tough and pennies were being pinched, I worked for a “natural” products company. Most people were not interested in looking at our products let alone buying, so I reverted to demonstrating washing grapes with their natural dish soap! It worked for the most part. Until one day, one of my friends took me aside and explained to me that they could taste something funky which meant the grapes were not truly clean. They said: “You can do better than this. Why don’t you make your own?”
Over the next 3 or 4 months, I went to every major grocery store chain, looking for their respective fruit and vegetable wash. One-by-one I put them through my taste test, quickly becoming appalled. Every product that I sampled left a funky taste in my mouth! When I asked people if they used a wash they told me that most don’t work because they leave a funky taste behind, and some just used water.
If you want to clean something you need to know what the surface looks like, right? You are probably thinking, it’s just a grape or a tomato, or a cucumber, how difficult can that be?
Did you know that fruits and vegetables have pores? They are called “stoma” or “stomata”. These pores take in carbon dioxide needed for photosynthesis, and to release oxygen. These pores then close reducing water loss in hot or dry conditions. In the right conditions, they will actually sweat, much like human pores. (Click here to read more on pores in produce via this Wikipedia link). These stomata are tiny, microscopic and critical for the photosynthesis process and very difficult to clean.
With two requirements and a bunch of knowledge, we set out to develop a new wash. First, it had to be an effective wash, removing wax and pesticides, all while paying attention to all of those stomata. Second, it must be a “residue free” wash. After rinsing, the solution needs to be gone!
A side note for a moment. Anyone who wears cosmetics knows how important it is to clean their skin at night. Cleaning fruits and vegetables are similar in that sense. When it is achieved, your skin will be fresh and vibrant. This is the same for fruits and vegetables. When effectively washed they will be cleaner, crispier and tastier.
It is my firm belief that when given two choices of the same food to eat, and one tastes better we all eat the best tasting option! If you simply try my wash, you will not be disappointed.
She quickly contemplated the table arrangement, placing her salad in an appropriate spot, some distance away from the “other one” and went about checking in with her family. It was a beautiful day, her family members were all arriving. Oh well, she thought, nothing ventured nothing gained.
Several hours later, everyone started to pack up. She went to the food tables to pick up her fruit salad. Since there were two bowls of fruit salad, there would be leftovers for her to enjoy during the following week. Much to her surprise, her bowl was 100% empty! She quickly looked for the other salad, found it and noticed that it had hardly been touched.
The following week she told me about her family reunion experience, sharing the details about her salad versus the other salad, all while apologizing for her plan gone awry. All I could do was smile, as I have seen and heard of this phenomenon many times. I explained to her the story about the two bowls of grapes, and that most often people do not realize that they will automatically gravitate to food that tastes good not knowing or caring why! Personally, I have had people argue with my explanation and honestly, the first few times I experienced these stories I wondered as well. Since this is my business, I hear these stories nearly every time I engage with my customers causing me to say “they are true!”
Adults will do the same as kids. Although, kids are much faster at making the choice. If given two choices of the same food to eat, and one tastes better we all eat the best tasting option, most of the time never questioning why!
If you don’t believe that this is a true story, try our wash. You will understand why.
Two bowls sit on the edge of the counter full of red grapes that have been plucked from their stems. Mom has figured out that by just leaving fruit on the counter her boys will wander by, as boys do, eating what they see. Getting her kids to willingly eat more fruits and vegetables is an important activity for their family.
One Saturday evening, Dad went to put the bowls of grapes into the fridge and noticed something really peculiar. One bowl was empty, the second bowl had been nibbled at but was mostly as full as it was in the morning. He took note and after the boys were in bed, he told his wife about his observation. She laughed and said: “I’ll be doggone, it must be true.”
She told her husband about this demo stand at her local grocery store. They were washing grapes with this new kind of fruit and vegetable wash. They talked about doing what she had done, wash one bowl with this new produce wash and one using any other method. She then put them out in two separate bowls to see what would happen. While she found the idea of a wash not leaving any residue or chemical taste to be intriguing, her experience was just the opposite. In the end she decided to try it, after all they have a money back guarantee.
Moms know that when it comes to food, kids come unfiltered. If they dislike something, they will tell her or just not eat. Once again the wash won the eating contest, as the bowl that was eaten was the bowl washed with this new, intriguing fruit and vegetable wash called Earth’s Natural Fruit and Vegetable Wash. The un-eaten bowl was washed with just water, just as mom had always done.
If you don’t believe that this is a true story, try our wash, you will be in for an interesting surprise.
Yesterday I picked up a bag of baby carrots only because my grandson wanted them! Quite frankly, I never eat them as they are tasteless, even if each carrot contains 0.3 grams of dietary fiber. It’s the juice in each bag that bothers me and if there isn’t any juice, they appear to be dryer and covered with white stuff!
So, what’s the juice about?
Nearly all processed fruits and vegetables have an anti-microbial solution on them that is used to clean and protect them from developing bacteria. In the case of baby carrots, they are washed in a diluted chlorine bleach solution to clean them, with the idea that the chlorine evaporates fairly quickly leaving just water. With that said the solution in the bag is most likely some version of chlorine bleach with the white stuff being some version of dried chlorine.
The good news is that your produce is safe to eat as it will not contain bacteria even though it might be tasteless.
The bad news is that people like me who have constant digestive issues will experience disruptions in our digestive process. Some days more than others, even though we are eating our fruits and vegetables.
This phenomenon gets at one of my basic tenants of how and what I eat. As I have aged, I have welcomed all sorts of food allergies into my daily diet. In the process of dealing with them I have realized that taste is everything. If I eat a food and it is tasteless my mind almost immediately says STOP! Something is wrong with this food. You see I am of the belief that Mother Nature made all of her food tasty! It is US that take the taste away by processing or adding preservatives or anti-microbial washes to the produce. Don’t get me wrong, the process of washing and leaving the anti-microbial wash on those baby carrots makes them safe for me to eat. The mistake people make is that they eat them as they are!
Washing with water will eliminate some of the chlorine but it will not do much to help improve the flavor. Washing with Earth’s Natural Fruit and Vegetable Wash will remove the chlorine and improve the crispness and flavor of the produce. That’s what it’s designed to do! As I say many times every day, your produce will be cleaner, crispier and tastier!
If you are a non-believer that’s OK… all I ask is this… pick up a small bottle of my wash and wash those baby carrots, or lettuce, or apples or cucumbers. Eat a piece of produce that has been washed with my solution, then go back and try a piece washed in your normal way. I’m willing to bet that produce washed with my solution will taste the best. If not, I will give you your money back! If you would like more information on this product go to fruitandveggiewash.com
If you have examples of how my Fruit and Vegetable wash has worked for you please post on my Life’s Pure Balance Facebook account.
When your produce is truly clean, it will taste better, raw or cooked doesn’t matter. The flavor will be cleaner, crispier and tastier!