Food Safety And Cancer

Anyone who has cancer has a compromised immune system. Disease resistance is a special problem in leukemia and lymphoma, or any kind of cancer complicated by the depletion of white blood cells called neutropenia. One way to minimize the risk of infection is something your doctor is not likely to have time to tell you about. It is simple sanitation when preparing food. Here are five tips for keeping your produce microbe-free that you probably have not heard before:
1. Fruits and vegetables with rough skins or dry skins harbor exponentially more microbes than fruits and vegetable with smooth skins or moist skins. For instance, you bring more germs into your home on a cantaloupe than on an orange. There are more potential disease-causing bacteria on an orange than on an avocado. And an avocado hosts more bacteria than a fresh apple. All your fruits and vegetables need a quick rinse, especially those with rinds usually removed before eating.
2. More germs are removed from vegetables when you wash them from the bottom up rather than from the top down. Scientists at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign found that more the most dangerous strain of E. coli, O:157, was removed from apple slices that were placed in a bowl of water agitated at the bottom than was removed by rinsing them with water from above.
3. Commercial rinsing products really do work, but let’s put them in perspective. Simply rinsing produce in tap water removes about 99 per cent of the microbes on their surfaces. A commercial rinsing product typically removes 99.9 per cent of the microbes on fruits and vegetables. That extra 0.9 per cent can make a difference, but no one should be afraid to eat fruits and vegetables that are rinsed and dried as soon as they are brought home from the market.
4. Refrigeration is even more important than washing. It’s always a good idea to separate clean and “dirty” produce in your refrigerator to avoid cross-contamination. If you cannot wash your produce as soon as you bring it home, at least put it in the refrigerator right away. Germs grow more slowly at low temperatures. You can always wash fruits and vegetables a little later. Just wash them even more carefully. Remember, Salmonella is spread by uncooked meats dripping on produce. Nothing helps you prevent Salmonella in your household more than keeping fruits and vegetables separate from meat, eggs, and dairy.
5. If it comes in with gnats or house flies, wash it, peel it, or throw it away. Fruit flies can transfer E. coli from one fruit or vegetable to others, and scientists at the Volcani Center have found that the bacteria survive on their legs for as long as seven days.
One thing you do not have to worry about with fruit and vegetable cleaning solutions is how long you keep your produce in them. University of Georgia scientists have found that the various commercial products all remove E. coli and Salmonella with even a quick rinse. Dunking veggies in cleanser for a full two minutes did not remove additional germs. Just be sure to give all your fruits and vegetables a quick cleaning before you eat them.