How to Make Your Own Fruit and Vegetable Wash

How to Make Your Own Fruit and Vegetable Wash

September 13, 2019 67 By Ewald Bahringer


“How to Make Your Own
Fruit and Vegetable Wash” How might we
reduce our exposure to pesticide residues
on fruits and vegetables? What about staying away
from imported produce? It turns out domestic produce
may be even worse, dispelling this notion that
imported fruits and vegetables pose greater potential
health threats to consumers. Buying organic dramatically
reduces dietary exposure to pesticides, but does not eliminate
the potential risk. Pesticide residues are detectable
in about 1 in 10 organic crop samples due to cross-contamination
from neighboring fields, to continued presence of very
persistent pesticides like DDT in the soil, or accidental
or fraudulent use. By choosing organic, one
hopes to shift exposures from a range of
uncertain risk to more of a range
of negligible risk. But even if all we had
to eat were the most pesticide-laden of
conventional produce, there is a clear scientific consensus
in the scientific community that the health benefits from
consuming fruits and vegetables outweigh any potential
risk from pesticide residues. But we can easily reduce
whatever risk there is by rinsing our fruits and
vegetables under running water. There are, however,
a plethora of products alleged by advertisers to reduce
fruit and produce pesticide residues more effectively than water, and
touted to concerned consumers. For example, Proctor & Gamble introduced a Fruit and Vegetable
Wash in the year 2000. As part of the introduction
TGI Fridays jumped on board, bragging on their menus that
the cheese and bacon puddles they call potato skins were
first washed with the new product. After all, it was proclaimed
proven to be 98% more effective than water in removing pesticides. So researchers put
it to the test. And it did no better
than plain tap water. Shortly thereafter Proctor & Gamble
discontinued the product, but numerous others
took its place claiming their vegetable washes
are three, four, five or even ten times more
effective than water. To which the researcher replied,
“That’s mathematically impossible.” If water removes like 50%, you can’t take off
10 times more than 50%. They actually found
water removes up to 80% of pesticide residues, like
the fungicide, Captan, for example. So for other brands of
veggie washes to brag three, four, five, ten
times better than water is mathematically
impossible indeed. Other fruit and vegetable washes
have since been put to the test. They compared Fruit
and Vegetable Wash to Fit, to two I’ve never heard of:
Organic Clean and Veggie Clean, compared to using dish washing soap — all compared to just
rinsing with plain tap water. 196 samples of lettuce, strawberries,
and tomatoes were tested. And they found little or no difference between just rinsing with tap water compared to any of the
veggie washes or the dish soap. They all just seemed
like a waste of money. The researchers
concluded that just the mechanical action
of, you know, rubbing the produce under tap water
seemed to do it, and that using detergents
or fruit and vegetable washes do not enhance the
removal of pesticide residues from produce above that of
just rinsing with tap water alone. That may not be saying much though.
Captan appears to be the exception. When rinsing with plain water was
tried against half a dozen other pesticides, less than half of the
residues were removed. Now fingernail polish
remover works better, but the goal is to end up with
a less toxic, not more toxic tomato. We need a straight forward,
plausible, safe method for enhanced pesticide removal, although the efficacy of pesticide
removal from fruits and vegetables has been rarely reported
in the medical literature. Anything we can add to the tap water
to boost its pesticide-stripping abilities? Well, if you soak potatoes in water, between about 2 to 13%
of the pesticides are removed. But a 5% acetic acid
solution removes up to 100%. What’s that?
Plain white vinegar. But 5% is full strength.
What about diluted vinegar? Diluted vinegar only
seemed marginally better than tap water for
removing pesticide residues. Using full-strength vinegar
would get expensive though. Thankfully there’s something
cheaper that works even better. Salt water! A 10% salt water solution
appears to work as good or better
than full-strength vinegar. To make a 10% salt solution, you just have to mix up one
part salt to nine parts water. Though make sure to rinse all
the salt off before eating it. There’s not much you can do for the
pesticides in animal products though. The top sources of some pesticides
are fruits and vegetables, but for other it’s dairy, eggs, and meat
because the chemicals build up in the fat. So what to do about the pesticides
in meat or egg yokes, egg whites? Hard-boiling appears to destroy more pesticides
than scrambling. But for the pesticides that build
up in the fat in fish or chicken, cooking can sometimes
increase pesticide levels that you can’t just wash off. In fact, washing meat, poultry,
or eggs is considered one of the top ten dangerous
food safety mistakes.