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Should fruit and vegetable be washed with salt water before consuming or cooked to certain temperatures to prevent transmission?

This question was posted the COVID-19 and nutrition programming forum area and has 1 replies.

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GTAM Wasting TWG

Emergency Nutrition Network

Frequent user

7 Aug 2020, 14:33

Question escalated to the prevention workstream of the Wasting TWG. Should fruit and vegetable be washed with salt water before consuming or cooked to certain temperaturest to prevent transmission?

GTAM Wasting TWG

Emergency Nutrition Network

Frequent user

8 Aug 2020, 10:33

The following answer was generation through consultation within the prevention workstream of the Wasting TWG.

Currently, there is no evidence indicating that fruits and vegetables should be washed with salty water to be safe for consumption. The overall advice regarding fruits and vegetables in the context of COVID-19 is: • First wash your hands with clean water and soap before handling fruits and vegetables • Wash fruits and vegetables thoroughly with clean water (not with soap or other product), before you peel, cut or eat them Eating raw fresh fruits and vegetables maximise vitamin, minerals and fibre intake. Cooking some of them (e.g. tomatoes, broccoli, leafy greens, etc.) may reduce their nutrient content/bioavailability (e.g. vitamin C is easily destroyed by heat). COVID-19 is a respiratory virus and not a food-borne disease. There is currently no evidence that COVID-19 can be spread through contact with food or food packaging. However, it is always important to practice good hygiene when handling food products to prevent any food-borne illnesses. WHO’s five keys to food safe food preparation are: • Keep clean: wash your hands, clean surfaces and cooking utensils, keep clean the cooking area, etc. • Separate raw and cooked to prevent transfer of microorganisms • Cook thoroughly (at least to 70°C), especially animal food products, for safe consumption • Keep food at safe temperatures: avoid room temperature, refrigerate when possible, etc. • Use safe (clean) water and raw materials (fresh food, avoid rotten food or expired food, etc.) These recommendations should be adapted to the context and national policies.

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