One of the things I run across in my classes is confusion about what types of produce need to be washed. People ask questions about melons, garlic and lemons or sometimes about bananas. I think what is throwing people off is that these products have a peel that we don’t eat so it seems that if we remove the peel then we are removing the contamination.
Well, lets take a look at a banana. Bananas grow on trees. Birds live in trees which suggests they also poop in trees that bananas grow on. The poop is on the banana peel that we remove with our hands or knife and those pathogens (germs) from the poop can get on our hands or knife. Now if the hand/knife touches anything, including the fruit inside the peel, then the fruit has been contaminated.
Don’t forget that most of our produce grows outside in an environment where there is a lot of bacteria. Whether it comes from the dirt or in trees when you buy it the produce is contaminated so it needs to be washed.
Oh yeah, one last thing, don’t forget how many people have been touching produce once it reaches a grocery store. The harvester in the field, the produce worker in the store, the person feeling it for ripeness or the little kid who may be weighing it on the scales have all been touching it with their bare hands and we know that none of them are washing their hands correctly.