Our Members Asked:
Are fruit and vegetable “washes” more effective than water for cleaning produce and removing pesticides? Are they safe?
Answer:Fruits, vegetables, and leafy greens can harbor pathogenic bacteria such as Salmonella, E. coli, and L. monocytogenes (i.e. Listeria) that can cause food poisoning, as well as pesticide residue on their surfaces. Fruits and veggie “washes” such as Fit Organic Spray Produce Wash, Rebel Greens Fruit and Veggie Clean, and Veggie Wash (Fruit & Vegetable Wash) are often promoted as a safe and effective way to remove bacteria and pesticides, and in some cases, are touted as being more effective than rinsing with water alone.
However, studies to back these claims do not appear to be available on the companies’ websites, and the FDA advises consumers not to use commercial produce wash, and states that “the safety of the residues of commercial produce washes has not been tested.”
Sign in as a member for details about studies comparing produce washes (as well as vinegar and baking soda) to rinsing with water for the removal of pesticides and bacteria such as E. coli, salmonella, and Listeria, which can cause food poisoning, as well as our tips for cleaning fruits, vegetables, and mushrooms. Also learn if you need to remove the Edipeel coating applied to some fruits and vegetables, and find out if such coating "traps" pesticides or bacteria.
In addition the results of its expert testing, ConsumerLab uses only high-quality, evidence based, information sources. These sources include peer-reviewed studies and information from agencies such as the FDA and USDA, and the National Academy of Medicine. On evolving topics, studies from pre-print journals may be sourced. All of our content is reviewed by medical doctors and doctoral-level experts in pharmacology, toxicology, and chemistry. We continually update and medically review our information to keep our content trustworthy, accurate, and reliable. The following sources are referenced in this article:
- CDC Fruit and Vegetable Safety 2023
- CSU Guide to Handling Fresh Produce – Revised 2020
- Drake, Compend Contin Educ Dent Suppl 1997
- FDA Food Facts 2023
- FDA GRAS Notice No GRN 000648
- Fishburn, Food Prot Trends 2012
- Hussein, Hortic Plant J 2020
- Kilonzo-Nthenge, J Food Prot 2006
- Krol, CAES 2000
- Krol, J Agric Food Chem 2000
- Lombardi, Avian Dis 2008
- McGill 2017
- Uhlig, Food Sci Nutr 2017
- Yang, J Agric Food Chem 2017