Forget water: There's something else we should be washing fruit and veg with

Almost all of us wash our fruit and vegetables in nothing but cold water. Well as usual, science is here to tell us we’re wrong.

Fruit and vegetables should be washed with baking powder instead of water, says a new study [Photo: Getty]
Fruit and vegetables should be washed with baking powder instead of water, says a new study [Photo: Getty]

A new study has found that baking powder is in fact the best way to remove pesticides from fruit and veg. The harmful chemicals help farmers increase their crop yields but are thought to be detrimental to human health.

The study, carried out by the University of Massachusetts, put two common pesticides (thiabendazole and phosmet) onto organic Gala apples.

Researchers then washed the fruit using three different liquids: normal tap water, a bleach solution and one per cent baking powder mixed with water.

The results showed that the baking powder solution was in fact the most effective at removing up to 13 potentially harmful pesticides. Although it did take 15 minutes to get rid of all the chemicals.

Water did not effectively remove pesticides from fruit when tested [Photo: Getty]
Water did not effectively remove pesticides from fruit when tested [Photo: Getty]

“The use of pesticides in agriculture has led to an increase in farm productivity. However, pesticide residues may remain on agricultural produce where they contribute to the total dietary intake of pesticides,” commented research leader Dr Lili He.

“Concerns about potential hazards of pesticides to food safety and human health have increased and therefore it is desirable to reduce these residues. The standard post-harvest method with bleach solution and a two-minute wash did not effectively remove these pesticides.”

The findings follow another study in September which found that British schoolchildren are being exposed to pesticides.

A Department of Health scheme which sees fruit handed out to 2.3 million children aged between four and six included apples that had traces of 11 chemicals.

An analysis by Pesticide Action Network UK stated that the school samples had more pesticides than regular supermarket produce.

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