Raw Vegetables Can Cause Illness

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Health experts warn that raw fruits and vegetables are more likely to cause food illnesses than meat, dairy and egg products. While greens by themselves are poor breeding grounds for germs, vegetable farmers often use bacteria-laden manure to fertilize their fields.

Food microbiologist Richard Linton says cabbage is a good example of a dangerous vegetable. "It grows close to the ground," he explains. "It has a lot of surface area that can become contaminated, and it's wrinkled, so it has places that may not be cleaned thoroughly."

Linton suggests salad lovers buy their greens prepackaged in bags, because those products are typically given a thorough, chlorinated water bath. Be careful with fruits and vegetables that are grown close to the soil, such as potatoes, carrots, lettuce and strawberries. Wash greens carefully under cool, running water using a brush. Foods with rough surfaces are harder to clean, so be careful, because bacteria cling to little grooves and crevices.

Note: Another way to clean and purify your vegetables and fruit is to squeez one lemon; then add 4 tablespoons of salt. Add this to a kitchen sink half full of water. This forms an acid that will clean sprays and other contaminants from your fruit and vegetables.