Washing away pesticides works

There are some food prep traditions that don't do a lick of good. The Five Second Rule — you can eat any food that falls on the floor if you pick it up in five seconds — is clearly just wishful thinking. But, what about the practice of rinsing fresh fruits and veggies? Is a blast of tap water really enough to remove dangerous pesticides?

According to Gizmodo's Ed Cara, the happy answer is yes. Tests done by the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station measured the amount of contaminants before and after rinsing with plain water, washing with soap, and using washes marketed specifically for fruit and veggie clean up.  All of the above resulted in reducing the same amount of pesticide residue.

Jane Houlihan, the research director at the nonprofit Healthy Babies, Bright Futures agrees. Their own research on baby food supports the findings.

"The bottom line—washing produce before eating it raw or cooking it is a good idea. Washing helps reduce pesticide residues and removes soil from the surface, which can be contaminated with toxic heavy metals and other contaminants," Houlihan told Gizmodo. The CDC also notes that washing raw produce can eliminate or reduce the presence of germs that cause foodborne illness, such as Listeria or Salmonella bacteria.

The CDC also advises not to use any kind of soap, since porous produce can suck up cleaning products, leading to a nasty taste, and possibly worse. So it seems that a colander and a kitchen tap is your best defense. 

Previously: Are pesticides evil, or awesome?