Tuesday, April 27, 2010

How clean is your food?

I personally think that a little bit of dirt never killed anybody – in fact, children raised in completely sterile homes are usually more likely to become sick when they are exposed to the real world – so I am not overly obsessive about cleanliness.

Yes, I use an antibacterial handwash before preparing food. I keep a hand towel in the kitchen for drying hands (not dishes) and I change my washing and drying up cloths twice a day. Okay, maybe I am just the teensiest bit obsessive – but, hey, it’s food and food preparation I’m talking about!

All fruit and vegetables should be thoroughly washed before being prepared. Even the stuff you’re going to peel. Bacteria and chemical residue from production and storage can transfer from the knife you use to peel and chop to the flesh of the food you’re preparing. Cooking may well destroy bacteria, but it won’t remove toxic chemicals. If you are preparing food which is going to be eaten raw then the cleaning process is even more important. Even if your pillow-pack of lettuce says ‘washed and ready to serve', give it another rinse just to be on the safe side.

Use cold water - you can add a splash of vinegar, if you want. Leave leafy veg like spinach and lettuce to soak for two minutes, shake off the excess water and then use a salad-spinner or swing the veg around in a clean tea cloth (this is best done outside!). Soak broccoli and cauli for a few minutes, too. Many are the little bugs I have drowned in this way.

Remember that all the fruit and vegetables you buy have been sprayed with preservative chemicals and insect repellants (unless they are organic) and have been handled by many people before arriving in your kitchen.


Roberto said...

Hi Sphinx - I agree with your sentiments.
Back in 2006, I wrote this after a mate nearly died from 'gastro'.

Some incredible blunders happen at the store, at home, on the plate etc.


Sphinx said...

Hi, Bob
Just read your article (link above) - very true and very interesting! Our supermarkets now offer free sanitary wipes so you can wipe down your trolley (shopping cart)handles, but when you think how the shelves have been stacked and how the produce was stored and handled before it got to the shelves!... the protection offered by that flimsy little wipe lasts about five seconds, if that. Shopping is a filthy business.
Have a great, germ-free day.