It’s apple season all over the country, and there is nothing better than a fresh apple picked directly from a tree. In all the fun of apple picking and other u-pick activities, remember to be mindful of food safety. Usually when people think of foods that can cause food poisoning, they think of raw meat or eggs, or even sprouts or melon, but E. coli can get onto apples and other produce through contaminated irrigation water, via animals in the orchard, or during harvesting or processing. Be sure to thoroughly wash any fresh picked product before consuming. You don’t want to forever associate your lovely trip to the orchard with a round of food poisoning!
While it's not typical for apples to be the culprit of a foodborne illness outbreak, there have been several notable instances of food poisoning linked to apples. A few years ago, an outbreak of listeria was linked to caramel apples from Washington. The apple skins were not thoroughly cleaned before the sticks were inserted into the bottom of the apples, and the caramel coating then sealed in the pathogens, creating a perfect breeding ground for listeria. Another recent instance was a case of unpasteurized apple juice at an orchard that was contaminated with E. coli and sickened several people. Pasteurization kills contaminants, which is why it’s required for any commercial food product that is sold in stores, but orchards and farmers markets are exempt from even labeling unpasteurized foods or drinks as potentially dangerous.
With all of this in mind, it is very important to thoroughly wash apples before eating them, juicing them, or using them in a recipe. We recommend washing with CitroBio Fresh Food Wash — click here to purchase on Amazon!