Greater and More Frequent Concern of Bacterial Outbreaks
You may recall that in 2006 all bagged fresh spinach became a headline story about its contamination of both E. coli and salmonella. The outbreak sent many people to the hospital and caused several deaths. In cases such as these it is theorized that the product comes in contact with such possibilities as contaminated water, manure, and animals. These carriers transfer germs to the product which stay with it through the entire processing chain.
Tuesday, October 6, 2009, 1CBS News reported that each year an estimated 76 million people in the US contract some form of foodborne illness. Among these cases an estimated 325,000 are hospitalized, and approximately 5,000 people die, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Also reported by CBS News was a list of 2"The Ten Riskiest Foods Regulated by the US Food and Drug Administration." In order, they are:
1. Leafy greens
7. Ice cream
Of particular curiosity is number 7, ice cream, but the explanation is that utensils used to serve it, particularly in food establishments, could run a risk of contamination. Additionally, toppings for ice cream can also become contaminated depending on various circumstances. Freezing often reduces the risk of germ contamination, but is not fool-proof.
The Growing Concern of Pesticide Contamination in Foods
More and more, pesticides have been linked to mysterious illnesses and unexplainable maladies. Pesticides continue to be blamed in some cases for such diseases as cancer, heart disease, Legionnaires disease, and even polio!
While more stringent measures are continuously being implemented by the food industry and government agencies, consumer awareness and education is probably the most powerful defense for personal, family and public safety. There are simple, effective, safe ways to decontaminate fruits, vegetables, meats, and even the containers in which they are packaged.
Decontaminating with Hydrogen Peroxide
While bleach has often been used in the past to decontaminate foods, it is in and of itself a toxic chemical. However, hydrogen peroxide is an environmentally friendly, nontoxic way to decontaminate foods, containers, and entire kitchens. By following simple directions outlined below, you can remove pesticide residue and kill germs on fresh produce and meats.
What Type of Hydrogen Peroxide to Use
There are several 3different types of hydrogen peroxide. The most common is found in the grocery store or pharmacy. This is a 3% solution and contains nonedible stabilizers and additives, which must not be ingested. Food grade hydrogen peroxide is the safest solution to use, but it is manufactured in 35% strength and must be diluted. If used full strength it will quickly destroy living tissues. However, dilution rates are simple and relatively easy to do.
Diluting Food Grade Hydrogen Peroxide
In decontaminating and disinfecting, you want a 3% solution, which is easily diluted according to the chart below:
Disinfecting Fresh Produce
Generally we don't mind handling fresh produce with our hands. It usually seems safe enough. But with more and more outbreaks of germ contamination, it seems prudent to consider wearing gloves when handling any raw foods, especially in cases where you are not sure of how safe the processing may have been. Using latex, vinyl or nitrile gloves will help prevent transference of germs and other health hazards to you.
Depending on the amount of produce you to want wash, you may want to partially fill a sink, or a small tub depending on your circumstances. According to the chart above, pour 1 and 1/4 quarter cup of hydrogen peroxide to one gallon of water to yield a 3% hydrogen peroxide solution. Based on your needs, you can adjust this formula up or down.
Put the produce in the hydrogen peroxide solution for one to two minutes and then rinse thoroughly with fresh tap water. Not only will this kill any germs, but it will remove pesticides.
An alternate method is to put the hydrogen peroxide solution in a spray bottle and spray produce liberally, then rinse thoroughly with fresh water.
Meat packers generally know that not touching meat will keep it fresh for a longer period of time. Additionally, not touching meat with bare hands is a safety precaution. Again, using latex, vinyl or nitrile gloves is a safer way to handle any uncooked meats.
Dilute using the same formula as described above for fresh produce, using chilled water, and place meat in a sink or small tub, let sit for one to two minutes, then rinse thoroughly with fresh water. Some sources recommend adding 4salt to the hydrogen peroxide solution.
If you are not planning to cook the meat immediately, place in a ziplock bag, or wrap well with plastic or other wrap to store.
• Food Grade Hydrogen Peroxide needs to be diluted to 3% strength.
• A powerful disinfectant safe to use on foods, utensils and more.
• A powerful decontaminant in removing pesticides and other contaminations from foods.
• Food Grade Hydrogen Peroxide breaks down to oxygen and water and leaves no toxic residue, making in it completely environmentally friendly.
Disinfect Your Utensils, Cookware and Entire Kitchen
You can disinfect just about everything in your kitchen with a spray bottle of hydrogen peroxide and a wipe. You can spray hydrogen peroxide solution on food containers before opening to reduce risks. Utensils, cookware, microwaves, dishwashers, refrigerators, sinks, counter tops and cabinets and much more are all candidates for periodic disinfecting.
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DoubleCheck on April 17, 2016:
The USP Hydrogen Peroxide is fine for washing fruits and vegetables as long as it is thoroughly rinsed off after use. On the other hand, if one will be ingesting the Hydrogen Peroxide then use the Food Grade Peroxide.
Emmi Buck on January 28, 2016:
YES! My favorite product for this is Essential Oxygen 3% Food Grade Hydrogen Peroxide! One tip from me is to wash ALL your produce, and even soak your nuts, grains, & seeds, in 3% Food Grade Hydrogen Peroxide. It contains no toxic stabilizers like the brown bottle variety so it cleans your food without a chemical reside and will rid your food of any pesticide reside! (https://essentialoxygen.com/products/food-grade-hy...
Daniel Carter (author) from Western United States on July 16, 2013:
Thank you, Sanjay.
Sanjay Sharma from Mandi (HP) India on July 14, 2013:
Nice hub, and quite informative too.