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Disinfecting fruits and. vegetables


Dan M
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What are the best and fastest ways to disinfect produce bought locally?. I just learned there are several different products for this, bacdyn, microdyn, iodine drops etc and it is necessary to soak or spray  all produce before eating or cooking.

This is a bit disconcerting as I have been cooking onions and mushrooms for my omlettes without going through any disinfecting process for a few days now....I read that Walmart sells a spray for berries that can not be soaked. Does every fruit and vegetable need to go through this process before cooking or eating?  Glad I found this out before contracting some terrible illness!!

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I don't disinfect most items. I do wash and disinfect locally-grown lettuce. People with water in places like Chula Vista don't disinfect, just wash under the tap. My water in Riberas is iffy. I use Microdyn (if that is the one that is not dark, because the dark ones stain your plastic bowls). Bell peppers, mushrooms, celery, onions, carrots, no. Never been sick from anything at home. Cooking obviously kills anything that might have been present... but I eat my carrots and celery raw most of the time. North of the border, people are going crazy with disinfectants; totally unnecessary.

A quick rinse for grapes and berries. I prefer not soaking berries because they go to mush.

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I soak nearly everything in Clorox water - cheap, fast (only 3-4 minutes) you don't use much, and it works. I've never had berries turn to mush. I soak briefly in Clorox water and rinse in vinegar water to retard any mold. They last for a week or two.

Trust a spray from Walmart? ROTGL

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I disinfect fruit and veg that I am using raw.  If I'm cooking the veg/fruits 'hard', I don't disinfect them.  When I have guests for meals, I disinfect all produce as some folks are more susceptible than others.  

For berries, I put them in a sieve and set the sieve in a bowl of water that has had the disinfectant added.  They don't fall apart that way.  

I normally use Micodyn.  

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I use Microdyn to soak things like blueberries, grapes, and strawberries. This supposedly gets rid of harmful bacteria. I add a few drops of bleach to maybe kill amoebas. Things like papaya, apples, oranges, tomatoes, and avocados I scrub with detergent and a brush on my doctors orders. I don't go near raspberries and blackberries. Bananas I just peel. Some things like pineapples are difficult to deal with-just rinse with clean water and peel? Salad making I buy the prewashed packages of lettuce and things. 

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Here in the city of San Luis Potosi and the connected city of Soledad the local news has several times over the years I have lived here in Soledad reported that the market gardens have been fined for tapping into the black water, raw sewage, going to one of the sewage treatment plants to irrigate their fields. Evidently the fines and consequences are cheaper than paying for municipal wáter when it is not the rainy season and keep repeating the offense and has been ongoing for a long time. They grow peppers, squash, pumpkins, strawberries, lettuce, carrots, potatoes, flowers, onions, turnips etc. Use a antibacterial wash please. You never know. No one I know here doesn´t. We use Microdyn.

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9 hours ago, MtnMama said:

I soak nearly everything in Clorox water - cheap, fast (only 3-4 minutes) you don't use much, and it works. I've never had berries turn to mush. I soak briefly in Clorox water and rinse in vinegar water to retard any mold. They last for a week or two.

Trust a spray from Walmart? ROTGL

I soak everything!!  But not onions....they are peeled....and even soak potatoes, etc that will be boiled...l    I am prone to digestive upset..and wash at home NOB too....esp. Driscoll berries from here!!     

My motto:

Boil it, peel it, or forget it....       

Especially here where water is not as reliably safe as NOB..Canada specifically, not Flint Michigan!!  

 

Having taken a food safety course recently for Hospice volunteering, it is highly recommended to 'treat' your food.......just sayin.......

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2 hours ago, AlanMexicali said:

Here in the city of San Luis Potosi and the connected city of Soledad the local news has several times over the years I have lived here in Soledad reported that the market gardens have been fined for tapping into the black water, raw sewage, going to one of the sewage treatment plants to irrigate their fields. Evidently the fines and consequences are cheaper than paying for municipal wáter when it is not the rainy season and keep repeating the offense and has been ongoing for a long time. They grow peppers, squash, pumpkins, strawberries, lettuce, carrots, potatoes, flowers, onions, turnips etc. Use a antibacterial wash please. You never know. No one I know here doesn´t. We use Microdyn.

Yes to Microdyn...but even vinegar or mild diluted Clorox is better...than nothing!!!     

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2 hours ago, cedros said:

I use Microdyn to soak things like blueberries, grapes, and strawberries. This supposedly gets rid of harmful bacteria. I add a few drops of bleach to maybe kill amoebas. Things like papaya, apples, oranges, tomatoes, and avocados I scrub with detergent and a brush on my doctors orders. I don't go near raspberries and blackberries. Bananas I just peel. Some things like pineapples are difficult to deal with-just rinse with clean water and peel? Salad making I buy the prewashed packages of lettuce and things. 

Agree....but even re-wash the salad ingredients....   Raspberries I use Microdyne...just for a short period...then freeze or use...they are never ever mushy!!

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12 hours ago, Dan M said:

What are the best and fastest ways to disinfect produce bought locally?. I just learned there are several different products for this, bacdyn, microdyn, iodine drops etc and it is necessary to soak or spray  all produce before eating or cooking.

This is a bit disconcerting as I have been cooking onions and mushrooms for my omlettes without going through any disinfecting process for a few days now....I read that Walmart sells a spray for berries that can not be soaked. Does every fruit and vegetable need to go through this process before cooking or eating?  Glad I found this out before contracting some terrible illness!!

.If you think soaking is disconcerting wait til you get amoeba or bacterial infection. Soak everything in Microdyn but don't soak lettuce and leafy vegetables until ready to use. Also soak things like papaya, etc that you will cut through the skin.

 

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I rinse everything with water. I never use anything more. I guess I am lazy but so far, no problem. Oh I did get sick once from poor cleaning habits in the 20 years I have been here.  I figure if the locals don't rinse, why should I.

 

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I worked in the fruit and veggie picking and packing industry in Canada. If people knew how many people had touched their produce before it got to their kitchen, and saw those people coughing into their hands, etc, etc, they would never eat any produce raw without disinfecting it. Organic or not.

And no matter how treated the water out of your faucet is, washing the produce in that water will do absolutely nothing to kill bacteria and viruses.

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Just now, johanson said:

I rinse everything with water. I never use anything more. I guess I am lazy but so far, no problem. Oh I did get sick once from poor cleaning habits in the 20 years I have been here.  I figure if the locals don't rinse, why should I.

 

A lot of gringos think that Mexicans are "immune" to the bacteria here, which is totally false. They get bacterial infections, salmonella, amoebas, etc, just like we do. One of my workers told me he and his family get pills for amoebas by their doctor every 6 months.

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With over 30 countries under my belt in Africa, Asia, the Middle East and elsewhere, I just got sick once; in Turkey when a sewer line broke and repairs were being made. I missed the public notification & got dysentery. Not fun, but I lived.

We never took any precautions, beyond rinsing with tap water, anywhere, and feel that some exposure to the world around you will help to build your immune system and defend you from most non-viral exposures.

We have managed that way for 70 and 80 years, respectively, and still enjoy life. We just can‘t eat as much as we used to enjoy doing.

Those who worry and are overly fastidious seem to be sick a lot.  Think about it.

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1 hour ago, johanson said:

I rinse everything with water. I never use anything more. I guess I am lazy but so far, no problem. Oh I did get sick once from poor cleaning habits in the 20 years I have been here.  I figure if the locals don't rinse, why should I.

 

Mexico has a high content of fecal matter in their ground water. Some of the fracs do a better job than others of purifying  their water  but taking the risk of just rinsing seems foolish when soaking with Microdyne takes so litle time. I have had several friends that did not take proper precautions end up with amoeba or bacterial infection. It's your choice!

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On 1/31/2018 at 9:56 PM, ComputerGuy said:

I don't disinfect most items. I do wash and disinfect locally-grown lettuce. People with water in places like Chula Vista don't disinfect, just wash under the tap. My water in Riberas is iffy. I use Microdyn (if that is the one that is not dark, because the dark ones stain your plastic bowls). Bell peppers, mushrooms, celery, onions, carrots, no. Never been sick from anything at home. Cooking obviously kills anything that might have been present... but I eat my carrots and celery raw most of the time. North of the border, people are going crazy with disinfectants; totally unnecessary.

A quick rinse for grapes and berries. I prefer not soaking berries because they go to mush.

I`ve lived here 6 years and only rinsed food of all kinds under the kitchen water.  A first, the water was filtered bit isn`t now.  Never had problems, so everyone`s system is different.  Better safe than sorry, of course.

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On 1/31/2018 at 9:51 PM, Dan M said:

What are the best and fastest ways to disinfect produce bought locally?. I just learned there are several different products for this, bacdyn, microdyn, iodine drops etc and it is necessary to soak or spray  all produce before eating or cooking.

This is a bit disconcerting as I have been cooking onions and mushrooms for my omlettes without going through any disinfecting process for a few days now....I read that Walmart sells a spray for berries that can not be soaked. Does every fruit and vegetable need to go through this process before cooking or eating?  Glad I found this out before contracting some terrible illness!!

 

On 2/1/2018 at 12:38 AM, MtnMama said:

I soak nearly everything in Clorox water - cheap, fast (only 3-4 minutes) you don't use much, and it works. I've never had berries turn to mush. I soak briefly in Clorox water and rinse in vinegar water to retard any mold. They last for a week or two.

Trust a spray from Walmart? ROTGL

MtnMama is definitely on the right track here (although technically the soaking requires 5 minutes)

We used to use MicroDyn for everything, but have recently discovered that it's not much better than a water rinse. Yikes!

Some things us extranjeros need to think about:

Bacteria - fecal, salmonella, listeria, campylobacter. Mexican chicken is actually 3X safer than US chicken for salmonella and campylobacter. Most everything else is a higher risk in places south of the U.S. Some of you have indicated you think a water rinse is sufficient. Your individual experience merely indicates that you've been lucky. For an in-depth read on the true statistics and science behind why only a bleach dilution is sufficient to kill things, here is a good, long and thorough discussion:

Salmonella & Parasites: Food Contamination in Mexico

Bon appetit! :)

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21 hours ago, mudgirl said:

I worked in the fruit and veggie picking and packing industry in Canada. If people knew how many people had touched their produce before it got to their kitchen, and saw those people coughing into their hands, etc, etc, they would never eat any produce raw without disinfecting it. Organic or not.

And no matter how treated the water out of your faucet is, washing the produce in that water will do absolutely nothing to kill bacteria and viruses.

Totally agree...better safe than sorry....      the handlers and pickers here are out in the field with an outhouse!!  How much trouble is it to just disinfect your food??     To each his own..........  

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1 hour ago, dixonge said:

 

MtnMama is definitely on the right track here (although technically the soaking requires 5 minutes)

We used to use MicroDyn for everything, but have recently discovered that it's not much better than a water rinse. Yikes!

Some things us extranjeros need to think about:

Bacteria - fecal, salmonella, listeria, campylobacter. Mexican chicken is actually 3X safer than US chicken for salmonella and campylobacter. Most everything else is a higher risk in places south of the U.S. Some of you have indicated you think a water rinse is sufficient. Your individual experience merely indicates that you've been lucky. For an in-depth read on the true statistics and science behind why only a bleach dilution is sufficient to kill things, here is a good, long and thorough discussion:

Salmonella & Parasites: Food Contamination in Mexico

Bon appetit! :)

How and why did you conclude Microdyn is no better than a water rinse??

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8 minutes ago, Bisbee Gal said:

How and why did you conclude Microdyn is no better than a water rinse??

Well, I did provide a link...which includes the following:

Soap and hot water do not disinfect things nor do they kill microbes.   Soap and water simply remove dirt and grease that offer places for microbes to grow.”

Then:

The NIH study evaluating Mexican vegetable contamination found that the silver colloid based disinfectants (like microdyne, biodyne, etc) lowered fecal coliform (pooh bacteria) counts, but did not eliminate them, and these same silver colloid products did not remove salmonella typhi risks in any samples.”

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After living in the Chapala area for more than 18 months I have gradually reduced my disinfecting of fruit and vegetables to times only when guests are entertained or when a produce really looks like it needs treatment.  I never get sick so I assume I have built up some tolerance to the local bacteria just like the local people.  On my first 3 visits (weekly vacations) to Mexico, years ago, I was violently sick with stomach problems every time!

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18 minutes ago, Cincy said:

After living in the Chapala area for more than 18 months I have gradually reduced my disinfecting of fruit and vegetables to times only when guests are entertained or when a produce really looks like it needs treatment.  I never get sick so I assume I have built up some tolerance to the local bacteria just like the local people.  On my first 3 visits (weekly vacations) to Mexico, years ago, I was violently sick with stomach problems every time!

"How Do You Get Infected?

You can become infected when you swallow even a small amount of E. coli bacteria. Among the ways this can happen:

  • Ground meat: You eat ground meat that carries E. coli, and the meat wasn’t cooked enough to kill the bacteria. When meat is processed, sometimes bacteria from the animals’ intestines make their way into the meat. This happens more with ground meat because it comes from more than one animal.
  • Untreated milk: You drink unpasteurized milk, which hasn’t been heated to kill bacteria. E. coli can get into the milk from the cow’s udder or from milking equipment.
  • Vegetables and fruit: You might eat fresh vegetables or fruit that’s been tainted by water that has the bacteria. This happens most often when manure from nearby animals mixes with the water supply.
  • Other foods and beverages: You might also get E. coli from unpasteurized fruit juices and yogurt and cheese made from raw milk.
  • Water: You swallow water that contains E. coli, perhaps while swimming in a pool, lake, or pond.
  • Other people: You might get E. coli from another person who has it, such as a child. The bacteria can be passed to you if you clean up after an infected person and then don’t wash your hands really well before you touch your mouth.
  • Animals: It can be found at petting zoos or animal exhibits at fairs.

You can also contaminate food in your own kitchen if you allow a knife or cutting board that has touched uncooked meat (like chicken) to come into contact with food that will be eaten raw (like a salad)."

https://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/food-poisoning/what-is-e-coli#1

E. coli bacterial infection is common here and easy to come into contact with. Washing vegtables and fruits is still a good idea and only takes a minute. I don´t know anyone here who doesn´t. If you know many people you find out in Mexico gastrial bacterial, omoebas, and parasitic  infections are very common.

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