Campus News

Dietetics director discusses the best way to wash pesticide off produce

Emma Laing, clinical professor and director of dietetics in the College of Family and Consumer Sciences, recently spoke with The Huffington Post about the best practices to remove pesticides from fruits and vegetables.

Though the method of washing produce in solutions of baking soda, white vinegar and specialty “produce washes” have become popular on TikTok, experts like Laing have determined that tap water is the best method of removing pesticides and germs.

“According to the FDA, washing fresh produce with soap, detergent or commercial produce wash is not recommended, as their safety and effectiveness have not been adequately tested,” Laing said. “Because produce is porous, soaps and detergents can be absorbed even with thorough rinsing, and this can lead to illness.”

While some may wish to forgo washing produce with a thick rind, such as watermelon, Laing emphasizes the importance of washing these fruits and vegetables along with the ones without this natural shield.

“Washing summer produce that is peeled and eaten without the skin, such as honeydew melon or mango, requires the same level of attention as fruits and vegetables that are eaten whole,” Laing said. “Even if you are not planning to eat the skin on certain produce, washing is important to minimize the dirt and bacteria that could be transferred from the surface.”

For additional effectiveness, a produce brush can be used with water to remove more stubborn pesticide residue.