If you’re not already washing your fresh fruit and vegetables before consumption, you have got a problem. Two health experts, Andrea du Plessis and Siyabonga Mngoma, warn that after 106 days of South Africa’s covid-19 lockdown, this should be a standard practice during the pandemic.
In the latest episode of Thandi and Captain Stay Safe, Food For Mzansi’s special covid-19 podcast series, the experts warn that fresh produce simply is not fit for consumption right after you buy them.
It should be washed properly to make them germ free, says Andrea du Plessis, a well-known dietician and television presenter.
“Washing hands is definitely a big step in the right direction, but you also need to wash the foods. Some people, who are very strict and compliant with hygiene guidelines would wash the packaging of the foods or wipe it properly. If you think about it, it’s with a person’s hands that those items were packed on a shelf. But where it’s even more important is with fresh fruits that will be eaten as a whole, like an apple or a pear, or salad ingredients like tomatoes.”
While there is currently no evidence to prove that the coronavirus can spread through food items, the World Health Organisation has recommended that fruit and vegetables be washed thoroughly with clean water, especially if you will be eating it raw.
Also, Unicef warns that it may be possible that people can become infected by covid-19 by touching a surface or object contaminated by the virus and then touching their face. The higher risk, though, comes from being in close contact with other people while food shopping or receiving food delivery.
As always, good hygiene is, however, important when handling food to prevent any food-borne illnesses, adds Mngoma, the founder of Abundance Wholesome Foods. She says, “Be sure to wash your foods before cooking. Keep your surfaces clean in the kitchen, as well as the rest of the house.”
In the podcast episode, both Du Plessis and Mngoma also have great tips on healthy, affordable family meals, including healthier options for ready-to-eat meals. This works great for parents who are struggling to find the balance between working from home during the lockdown while taking care of their families.
Exactly how should I clean fruits and veggies?
Option 1: Listen right here by clicking on the player below.
Option 3: Click here to listen on Apple devices.