The best way to clean your apples, according to science
22:10, Thursday, 26 October, 2017
How do you clean your apples before you eat them? A rinse under the faucet? A brisk wipe with your sleeve? Whatever the method, chances are you’re doing it wrong, according to a new study. Unless they’re organic, apples have probably been sprayed with synthetic insecticides. In the US, the Environmental Protection Agency requires that they be washed with a bleach solution for two minutes and thoroughly rinsed before they get sold to consumers. While that gets rid of bacteria and dirt it doesn’t wash away the pesticides, Lili He, a chemist at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, told Consumer Reports. The researchers led by He set out to test three different washing styles. They sprayed organic Gala apples with the fungicide thiabendazole and the insecticide phosmet—both of which are EPA-approved for use on apples—and let the fruit sit for 24 hours. They then washed each apple with plain water, a bleach solution typically used by US fruit purveyors, and a solution of water with 1% baking soda. For each of the three options, they tested both a two- and an eight-minute wash before rinsing each apple again with water.