True or False: "Washing Your Fruit and Veggies is Useless - You Can't Wash Away the Pesticides, Anyway!"
|It's a good idea to wash your veggies, but this is not the most effective method. Bath them in warm water, don't wash them under the faucet.|
True or False: "It's useless to wash your peppers."
False - I was surprised, when I realized that the answer to this True or False item was much easier to find than I had thought. It took me a while, though, before I found a study that analyzed data from more than just one vegetable variety, but the basic answer, i.e. "No, it's not useless to wash your peppers - quite the contrary!" popped up right in my first cursory database search.
|Figure 1: Amount of ethylenebisdithiocarbamates and chlorpyrifos on selected vegetable (µg/kg) before and after washing; the figure above the bars indicate %-change from pre to post washing (Chavarri. 2004; Randhawa. 2007)|
|Table 1: Current European Union Maximum Residue Levels in mg/kg (Council Directives 76/895/EEC and 90/642/EEC, last revised in June 2004)|
Aprospos washing! How do you do that?
You don't know how to wash veggies? Well, I obviously can't tell you what the absolute optimal way is, but what I can tell you is how scientists washed the specimen that were used in the studies the data in Figure 1 is based on: They placed the veggies in a dish or a clean lavatory with warm tap water and cleaned them with "gentle rotations of the hand" (Randhawa. 2007), before they grapped a conventional paper towel and blotted them dry.
|Figure 2: Illustration of the processing steps in Chavarri et al. (2007).|
|Figure 3: Relative ethylenebisdithiocarbamates and total endosulfan levels (in % of baseline) after washing, peeling, blanching / cooking & co. (Chavarri. 2004; Randhawa. 2007)|
- Chavarri, M. J., Herrera, A., & Arino, A. (2005). The decrease in pesticides in fruit and vegetables during commercial processing. International journal of food science & technology, 40(2), 205-211.
- Houeto, P., Bindoula, G., & Hoffman, J. R. (1995). Ethylenebisdithiocarbamates and ethylenethiourea: possible human health hazards. Environmental health perspectives, 103(6), 568.
- Keikotlhaile, B. M., Spanoghe, P., & Steurbaut, W. (2010). Effects of food processing on pesticide residues in fruits and vegetables: a meta-analysis approach. Food and Chemical Toxicology, 48(1), 1-6.
- Nasreddine, L., & Parent-Massin, D. (2002). Food contamination by metals and pesticides in the European Union. Should we worry?. Toxicology letters, 127(1), 29-41.
- Randhawa, M. A., Anjum, F. M., Asi, M. R., Butt, M. S., Ahmed, A., & Randhawa, M. S. (2007). Removal of endosulfan residues from vegetables by household processing. Journal of Scientific and Industrial Research, 66(10), 849.