Wash out!

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With the recent E. coli outbreak that resulted in over 250 confirmed infections thought to be traced back to salad leaves used in pre-packed sandwiches and wraps, Lee Kesterton, sales manager at Drywite, talks about the importance of washing fruit and veg

Fresh green lettuce leaves, shredded red cabbage and chunks of juicy cucumber, it’s a picture of pure health. But while that freshly prepared salad you are serving in your kebabs, tacos and burgers or alongside your fish and chips looks attractive to the eye, it can be hiding a myriad of contaminants, which if digested can make customers very ill – as illustrated by the outbreak over the past month.

“Contamination can occur from a range of different sources,” says Lee. “Pesticides and chemicals used during the farming stage, dirty water used to irrigate fields, sand and dirt, bugs and insects are all possible sources. There is even the additional possibility of produce picking something up during the packaging process.

“While salad and fruit growers should themselves have adequate washing and cleaning practices in place, unfortunately, things do sometimes go wrong. We know of several companies that have cut back of late to save on costs and are using chlorine because it is cheaper, however, it is potentially dangerous because produce has to be re-rinsed several times and it will not eliminate bacteria entirely. Others we know of are just using water, which will remove some of the dirt but has little effect on some surface residues because they are formulated so as not to be washed off by rain or during watering. Water will also not kill pathogenic bacteria.”

To be on the safe side and avoid being involved in any potential food scares, Lee recommends all fresh produce entering a fish and chip shop should be rinsed, whether freshly picked or a pre-packed salad. Rather than using water or chlorine, he recommends a treatment product like Drywite’s Fresh Produce Wash, which kills 99.99% of bacteria and is an effective surfactant, removing pesticide residues as well as any dirt.

“Fresh Produce Wash is a chlorine-free alternative to washing your fruit and veg and it kills over 99% of bacteria including Salmonella, E. Coli, Listeria and Campylobacter Jejuni and it removes any dirt on produce as well,” says Lee.

“What’s more, as it is chlorine-free, it is odourless and tasteless. This means once salad, fruit and vegetables have been treated there is no need to rinse, they are ready to go. The customer won’t know any product has been used and salad, fruit and vegetables are completely safe and ready to eat straight away.”

Lee says the company has seen massive traction with its Fresh Produce Wash over the past few weeks as news of the E. coli outbreak spread. “We’ve been flooded with customers coming back to us but what we need to do is educate fish and chip operators that just washing their produce in water will not kill any bacteria that may still be present.”

Fresh Produce Wash features a twist-off cap that doubles as a measuring cup, allowing operators to easily measure the correct ratio of wash to water. Salad is then simply washed and it’s ready to go without the need for rinsing, offering a 99.99% guarantee that it won’t harbour any harmful residues. Available in 6 x 2.5kg bottles, just one measure can wash over 100kg of vegetables.

Drywite 01384 569556 www.drywite.co.uk/product/drywite-fresh-produce-wash/

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