Myth #1: I don’t need to wash fruits or vegetables if I’m going to peel them.
Fact: Because it’s easy to transfer bacteria from the peel or rind you’re cutting to the inside of your fruits and veggies, it’s important to wash all produce, even if you plan to peel it.
Myth #2: Leftovers are safe to eat until they smell bad.
Fact: The kinds of bacteria that cause food poisoning do not affect the look, smell, or taste of food.
Myth #3: Once food has been cooked, all the bacteria have been killed, so I don’t need to worry once it’s “done.”
Fact: Actually, the possibility of bacterial growth actually increases after cooking, because the drop in temperature allows bacteria to thrive. This is why keeping cooked food warmed to the right temperature is critical for food safety.
Myth #4: If I really want my produce to be safe, I should wash fruits and veggies with soap or detergent before I use them.
Fact: In fact, it’s best not to use soaps or detergents on produce, since these products can linger on foods and are not safe for consumption. Using clean running water is actually the best way to remove bacteria and wash produce safely.
Myth #5: Only small children are at-risk for severe cases of foodborne illness.
Fact: For most people, the symptoms of food poisoning, while definitely unpleasant, are short-term and not life-threatening. But certain populations (small children, older adults, people with diabetes and AIDS) are at higher risk of hospitalization, permanent health problems, and even death. As we grow older, we are at greater risk because of…
1. Decreased immune system efficiency, so we can’t fight off bacteria as effectively as when we were younger
2. Reduced amount of stomach acid, which allows more bacteria to survive in the digestive tract
3. Loss of vision and sense of taste, so we are less likely to notice if food is spoiled