Should Our Food Be Sterile?

First, it’s not.

With rare exceptions, our food supply contains bacteria, probably some viruses, and heaven knows what else.  Depending on where we are in life, we can eat and survive what we’ve eaten without ill effects.  Hmm, does that mean I can eat whatever I want and not worry?  No, that’s not the case at all.

From a variety of sources, we know the human immune system is slightly defined at birth, gets better with age, and declines as we get older.  Our immune system looks like the classic bell-shaped curve.  From birth to about age 32, the immune system is getting better and better.  From age 32- to 37, we’re at our peak.  But, from 37 to the point of death at say 80, our immune systems are declining.  It starts out slowly.  At 69, I’ve noticed simple things like colds become pneumonia.  And a fall in the grass leaves bruises.  Kneeling too long makes my legs ache.  I get tired more easily.  The idea that foods with fiber have become my mantra instead of something to snicker about.  All of this is the result of aging. My body losing its ability to stay at the top of its game.

This brings me back to sterile food.  It isn’t.  But taking chances with my food is no longer an option.  Bacteria and pesticides on the outside of peppers, lettuce, and apples can and does affect older bodies.  The young and old among us are at greater risk, so cleaning the exterior surfaces takes on greater urgency. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are saying that we should wash fruits and vegetables before we eat them to reduce the chances of getting COVID-19.

This assumes someone, somewhere in the food chain touched it with contaminated fingers or sneezed or coughed on it.  The amount that’s there is probably minuscule, but nobody knows.  But the risk of getting a disease that will mess you up for a month is worth the time to take it off, considering it takes just a couple minutes to do so.

Be safe, my friends.  You have within your hands, a means of staying out of trouble.  It’s all anyone can ask.