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Important to eat your veggies, but wash them first September 29, 2007

Posted by Dreamhealer in Diet, Energy Healing.
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VeggiesPublished: Saturday, September 29, 2007

The latest produce recall, involving packaged lettuce, is a good reminder that you need to be careful when it comes to fresh produce.

“The key is you have to wash everything really well,” says Amy Bondar, a Calgary-based nutritional consulting practitioner with Hoffman Centre for Integrative Medicine.

“Even if those bagged salads say pre-washed, just wash them anyway because those seem to be the ones that are recalled. It’s hard to say if it is the food itself or the people who are handling it that is the problem. (Washing) is also a good way to get rid of excess herbicides and pesticides.”

Here are some other tips to keep in mind:

– Buy fresh, whole produce as often as you can. Both Bondar and Frank Sarro, produce category manager for Community Natural Foods in Calgary, point out that contamination problems seem more common with pre-packaged produce. While contamination has occurred with both packaged and non-packaged produce, their personal preference is to go with the non-packaged.

“But I wouldn’t put my neck on the line to say you’re safer that way,” says Sarro.

– If you like packaged produce for its convenience, make sure you check the best-before date, recommends Sarro. Don’t eat anything past that date.

Samara Felesky-Hunt, a Calgary dietitian, goes one step further. “Eat those veggies as soon as you can,” she says. “Really try to eat them in the next day or so because I think even some of those expiry dates aren’t as tight as they could be.”

– Wash all your produce, even if it says it’s pre-washed and ready to use. The Calgary Health Region recommends using cold running water, and it does not recommend using soap or other cleaning products. Bondar doesn’t recommend products such as veggie washes, either.

“A lot of research shows they don’t actually make a huge difference,” she says. “It’s not much different than washing it really well yourself.” Just make sure to rinse leafy vegetables several times in clean water.

– Consider buying your fruits and vegetables on a more regular basis.

– While organic produce is free of herbicides and pesticides, that does not mean you don’t have to worry about contamination such as E. coli. Sarro says E. coli contamination can be a result of anything from poor handler hygiene to improper composting techniques. Even if you’re buying organic, “I would certainly still wash the product,” he says…..

(Calgary Herald)

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