How to disinfect fruits and vegetables

How to disinfect fruits and vegetables to adequately protect ourselves from the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 is something that worries us all. You already know that, following the scheme of the Harvard Plate , fruits and vegetables must occupy at least half of our shopping cart. Canned and frozen vegetables significantly maintain their properties and are safe options … but our bodies ask for fresh. And we can give them to you, respecting certain basic hygiene rules.

Can I get coronavirus by eating fruits and vegetables?

Although all the foods that arrive at the supermarket are safe, it is advisable to properly disinfect fruits and vegetables before consumption. According to the   FDA (Food and Drug Administration)  and the EFSA ( European Food Safety Authority ) there is still no evidence on the transmission of SARS-CoV-2 through food or food packaging. However, certain precautions are not superfluous when we consider that, according to  some studies , the coronavirus could remain on the surfaces for variable times with different viral loads depending on the temperature and humidity conditions.

New gloves ALWAYS when buying fruit and vegetables

When we go to the shopping, to the fundamental measures of prevention ( social distance, coughing and sneezing inside the elbow, not touching the face and frequent hand washing ) it is convenient to add the use of gloves and  mask  (whenever possible) and continue the specific recommendations of the establishment. Many supermarkets facilitate cleaning and disinfecting the car and hands with gloves and hydroalcoholic gels at the entrance.

How to properly put on and take off a mask.

Let’s not forget that, even if we wear vinyl or nitrile gloves, we must wear the polyethylene gloves (the transparent loose ones) available at the fruit and vegetable stands. IMPORTANT! If we have put on “transparent” gloves at the supermarket entrance, we should ALSO use new gloves when choosing fruits and vegetables, since the “first gloves” may have been contaminated. Remember that we are going to touch fruit and vegetables that other people can eat directly.

Better vegetables by weight or packaged?

With Greta’s permission, in these times it is convenient to choose packaged products , but if we are going to buy fruits and vegetables by weight, we have some recommendations from the  Spanish Agency for Food Safety and Nutrition to wash and disinfect them.

What fruit and vegetables do I choose? Are waxes dangerous?

You have to choose pieces without bruises or damage, with a healthy appearance and shine and the color of the variety in question. The waxes that cover the fruits and some vegetables have their function, and they  are completely safe . Out myths.

To take them home, you should separate fruits and vegetables from meat, fish and other fresh foods , as well as cleaning products.

When we get home: should we quarantine the purchase?

In general, it is recommended  to quarantine the purchase  in a corner until the next day (except, logically, foods that need refrigeration). Why? This simple protocol will help decrease the possible viral load on the surface of the packaging or food. In other words, as time passes, the possible viruses or coronaviruses that are active on the food surface are “inactivated”.

How to disinfect fruits and vegetables in 6 steps

It’s time for the truth. To properly clean and disinfect fruits and vegetables before consuming you can follow these steps:

  1. Thoroughly wash your hands with soap and water(for at least 20 seconds).
  2. Wash fruits and vegetables under running watereven if you are going to peel them. This prevents contamination from passing from the skin into the food through the knife. The knife when pressing inwards can drag possible microorganisms.
  3. Use specific brushesfor the surfaces of hard-shelled fruits (melon, watermelon …) or some vegetables (cucumber, zucchini …).
  4. If you are going to eat raw fruits with skin, raw vegetables (lettuce, spinach …) or raw vegetables with skin (cucumber) soak them for five minutes in a liter of drinking water with a teaspoon of bleach coffeelabeled “suitable for water disinfection of drink ».
  5. Rinse them very wellwith plenty of running water.
  6. Dry the fruits and vegetables with kitchen paper.

Does Amukina or Lejisana serve to “kill” the coronavirus?

Yes, these types of solutions inactivate the coronavirus and it is important to follow the instructions of each manufacturer. However, as we mentioned in the previous point, you can also use bleach suitable for disinfecting drinking water to disinfect fruits and vegetables. To understand us, the “Lye Rabbit” of all life, serves.

How to preserve fruits and vegetables so that they “hold” more?

If you are not going to consume them immediately, there is no need to disinfect fruits and vegetables to store them , as some could shorten their shelf life. Storage and conservation depends on the type of fruit or vegetable and remember that in the kitchen they must always be handled separately , especially if they are to be eaten raw, with specific utensils (tables).

Does vinegar serve to disinfect fruits and vegetables?

There is no evidence that home remedies such as baking soda, iodine, vinegar, or salt and lemon are effective in disinfecting fruits and vegetables by removing the coronavirus or the usual suspected viruses and bacteria. Soapy water is also not recommended.

The Apothecary’s Advice

Recall that the official recommendations of the Ministry of Health to wash and disinfect fruits and vegetables are those discussed in this post: water under running water, exhaustive brushing and the use of bleach suitable for food use if considered appropriate with good subsequent rinsing. These are the “old” recommendations that are also useful in the days of COVID-19. And remember that experiments, with health, or with soda.


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