Do you need to wash food before eating it? – Big Questions – (Ep. 230)

Do you need to wash food before eating it?  - Big Questions - (Ep. 230)

hi I'm Craig it's recommended that you wash me before you eat me and this is Mental Floss video today I'm going to answer Donovan Norman's big question is it necessary to rinse off apples and such before you eat them so when you say and such I'm going to assume you're referring to other fruits and vegetables but I'll also talk about washing meat and eggs I won't talk about washing me any more though let's get started the short answer is yet see you okay later oh we should probably say more it's recommended that you wash your fruits and vegetables under cold running water before you eat this if the fruit or vegetable is firm like an apple or potato you should actually scrub it with a brush don't use soap though in the u.s. soap and detergent are not FDA approved for consumption you might be wondering why well these foods grow in soil with the help of water both of those might contain bacteria that's bad for us they can also pick up other dirt and bacteria while they're on their journey from farm to Transportation to warehouse to supermarket also sometimes in the middle there the people transporting it like to having dirt fights with each other I used to work in the industry I know these things fruits and vegetables have cause dangerous outbreaks before like in 2011 there was an e.coli outbreak in England Wales and Scotland over 250 cases were found and they got it from leeks and potatoes which grew in soil containing e-coli makes a lot of sense you something's rolling around in e.coli it's going to have eagle eyes that's not to say that they would have all been fine if they wash their vegetables cross-contamination probably was at play too of course that's an extreme example of what could happen but unwashed fruit and vegetables do put you at risk for food poisoning and washing and scrubbing the food helps remove the dangerous soil and residue that might be on there the FDA also recommends cutting off bruised and damaged areas on the fruits and vegetables don't cut those off of me though it's more likely that those spots will contain bacteria and you should also store all perishable produce in the refrigerator to keep them as safe as possible in 2007 the editors of the magazine Cook's Illustrated conducted an experiment to determine the best way to wash fruits they tried a few different methods then put swabs of the fruit and petri dishes and left them in 80 degree Fahrenheit temperature for a couple days they learned that washing the fruit with a dilute vinegar rinse to remove 98% of the bacteria this was a solution of one part vinegar and three parts water at whisky and I drink that but the scrub brush and water method got 85% of the bacteria a similar study at Tennessee State University found that water alone can get rid of 98% of the bacteria so this probably still needs to be studied more but water should do it and what about other foods that some people wash like meat and eggs the FDA does not recommend that you wash meat by doing so you create the opportunity for bacteria to spread to areas like the countertop sink and even utensil some people prefer to wash their eggs but that's actually something that happens during commercial egg processing least in the u.s. in a few other countries again there's a risk of cross-contamination so it's not worth it thanks for watching Mental Floss video which is made as a helpful kinis dirty eggs if you have a big question of your own that you'd like answered leave it below in the comments see you next time you


  1. If raise your own chickens, not washing the eggs will mean that they keep for longer. You probably want to wash them before you cook/eat them though.

  2. If all it does is remove 98% of bacteria then it's a waste of time.
    Everyone, please watch my little nature videos. There is no talking in them. Shhh!

  3. how long does it take to the bacteria to die the one that is in the apple for instance on the skin apple

  4. As a driver whose delivered fruits and vegetables to a variety of supermarkets and grocery stores, WASH THEM!!!

  5. Actually, you should NOT store plenty of vegetables and fruits in the fridge, because water will condense on the peel and that can cause fungal growths. Better to let them sit in the open. That's why we have fruitbowls.

  6. I use dishsoap to clean up my apples and hard vegetables. I rinse them thoroughly afterward. Taste just fine, fuck the FDA.

  7. As far as meats i never wash meat especially chicken. I feel like the water splashing around can cross contaminate your sink, sink handles your dish rack. I will was the cavity of a chicken though thats about it.

  8. If you're into culinary arts you'll understand the nasty shit more. Some veggies get salmonella from chicken shit run off into the water supply that feeds the veggies. Also leeks grow up through soil and have many layers which trap dirt especially at the stalk and if you break apart celery you'll most likely see dirt between the ribs by the stalk. Always wash fruits and veg

  9. But if you don't live in a country that washes their eggs before selling them, you need to wash them first. How can you tell? Two things. The eggs will, mostly, be stored outside the refrigerators in the store, since leaving them unwashed helps preserve them. AND you will usually find that the eggs even look dirty. They have smudges and sometimes even feathers on them. You gotta wash those, but only RIGHT before you use them.

  10. I love that we don't loose Craig's slightly strange but hilarious personality and humour in these videos, and we get to learn something!

  11. So washing all meats? Or just red meat? Cause, I was always taught to wash chicken, but other meats we never did. As for eggs, I know it's not necessary to wash commercial eggs, but what about home grown for farm fresh eggs? I thought there was a reason to wash those since they don't go through the process commercial ones do?

  12. How do I know if my apples have been waxed? Is it safe to eat waxed apple with their skins?

    I used to eat apples with their skin on. Then one day I happen to scrape the apple skin with a knife and found out it's caked with a waxy substance. Never ate unpeeled apples since then.

  13. Wow. The innuendos in this. Anyway, definitely need to wash eggs here. There is literal shit and feathers on them sometimes.

  14. Yes you should wash fruit and veggies. I watched a video of a middle eastern couple who owned a fruit and vegetable store having sex in the store and after wiping themselves off with a napkin, then without washing their hands handling the produce to give to unsuspecting customers.

  15. I learned while living in Hawaii that several people wash their rice before cooking. This blew my mind… is that necessary? I still do because I like the texture of washed rice better.

  16. Do people seriously wash meat? For veggies and fruit, sure there might be dirt or pesticide on them. But meat? Seriously?

  17. We aren't supposed to use soap to wash our fruits & veggies because soap might not be safe to eat, but we are encouraged to wash our hands often, especially before eating, presumably often putting the recently soaped hands in our mouths and directly on our food?

  18. There are some grains you should rinse before cooking too, rice being one of them. Not because of germs, but rinsing the rice helps get rid of some of the starches that make it less fluffy when it's done cooking.

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