NDSU Extension - Benson County


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Rinse Your Produce for Safe Food

A Taste

For Nutrition

By Kimberly Fox, Extension Agent

Family Nutrition Program/Family and Consumer Science


Rinse Your Produce for Safe Food

Whether you are getting fresh produce from your garden, or from the grocery store, it is important to rinse it before it is eaten to reduce the amount of bacteria that is consumed.  Rinsing produce should be done just prior to eating to keep the quality of the product. 

Produce should be rinsed under cool water with a brush or your hand.  There is no need for soap or other additives to get vegetables clean.  In fact, those products can oftentimes affect flavor, and may not be safe to consume.  Fresh fruits and vegetables can be dried with a paper towel or a clean cloth. 

It is essential to also to look carefully at packages of fresh vegetables in the store.  If they are labeled “ready-to-eat,” “washed,” “triple washed,” or something similar, there is no need to wash them again.  In fact, doing so may increase the risk for cross contamination.

After the produce is washed, be sure to serve it or chill it within two hours. If the produce will be out longer than two hours, make sure that it is on ice to prevent bacteria growth.

If any of the produce that is wash is bruised, or may have become cross contaminated with raw meat, poultry, fish, or eggs, it must be thrown out.  As the saying goes, “When in doubt, throw it out”. 

It does not take much time at all to rinse fresh fruits and vegetables, but can make a huge difference in how safe food is to eat.

Here is a recipe for crunchy chicken salad.  A perfect way to get practice rinsing your fruits and vegetables.  Enjoy!

Crunchy Chicken Salad


  • 2 cups cooked chicken (chunked)
  • 1/2 cup celery
  • 1/4 cup green pepper
  • 1/4 onion
  • 1/2 cucumber
  • 1/2 cup grape
  • 1 apple (small, diced, leave the peel on)
  • 1/4 cup yogurt, plain

Directions:  Use leftover cooked chicken, or cook enough chicken to make 2 cups of chicken pieces.  Chop the celery into small pieces.  Chop the green pepper into small pieces.  Peel and chop 1/4 of an onion.  Peel and chop half of a cucumber. 6. Chop the apple into pieces. It’s okay to leave the peel on the apple.  Cut the grapes in half.  Put all the ingredients in a large bowl. Stir together.

Makes 5 servings, each serving contains 125 calories.  Contains 2 grams of fat, 46 mg cholesterol, 232 milligrams sodium, 8 carbohydrates, 1 gram fiber, and 18 grams protein. 


  • Partnership for Food Safety Education, Fight BAC! Like a Produce Pro.
  • Pennsylvania Nutrition Education Program, Pennsylvania Nutrition Education Network
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