Wash Water Chlorine Disinfection:Best Practices to Ensure On-farm Food Safety
Washing fresh produce with potable water treated with a sanitizing agent can reduce microorganisms and pathogens that may be on the surface of the produce.
These potential problems include post-harvest rot and decay microorganisms such as spoliage bacteria and yeast, Botrytis, penicillium and mucor as well as foodborne pathogens such as E.coli, cyclospora, Listeria, and salmonella .
Chlorine can be used in wash water for apples, nectarines, plums, cherries, grapes (or muscadines), leafy greens, peppers, tomatoes, peas, melons, cabbage, green onions, cucumbers and zucchini squash.
Do not wash or disinfect berries such as strawberries, blueberries, blackberries or raspberries. While peaches and pears can be washed and sanitized, care must be taken because these fruits easily bruise and the washing process can damage the fruit and increase the chances of post-harvest decay.