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Bacteria Hiding on Fruits, Vegetables Could Give You Surprise Helping of Fecal Matter

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When it comes to eating healthy, nutritionists agree fruits and vegetables are good for you. If you don't know how to clean them properly, Reporter Andrea Ramey says you could be getting a surprise helping of fecal matter or something worse. Presentation is important to Jose Lee. He eats a plate of fruit daily. Like many of us he starts by rinsing off the produce with a little water. Is that really the best way to clean your produce? What exactly is on it in the first place? To find out, we took various produce items to the University of Mobile to be tested. Assistant Professor of Biology Dr. Larissa Walker collected samples and put them into petri dishes.

4 days later we went back for the results. Turns out, there's some pretty gross stuff on your produce. The salad we bought at a local drive through had Staph and fecal matter on it. Bagged lettuce? It claims to be "washed and ready to eat". Since we found fecal matter in the bagged lettuce, Jose may want to reconsider. What about organic? You buy it thinking it's safer, but what you don't realize is there's usually a good chance there's fecal matter on it.

The organic spinach and cucumber we tested both had some present. The organic cucumber was by far the worst. So how can you take the ick out of your salad? All that rinsing you're doing? You may be getting the dirt off but not the bacteria. We tried a fancy $6 bottle of produce cleaner. Walker was skeptical, but the petri dishes don't lie. The stuff works.

We tried a method of adding a dab of apple cider vinegar to water and letting things like grapes soak in it for 5-10 minutes. The petri dish showed no growth. Despite what's in the petri dishes, Jose believes he can keep his fruit plate fecal matter free by using plain old water.

Apparently the vinegar mixture does not leave behind any flavor.

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