Your fruits and vegetables are dirtier than your hands! What to do.
If you really think about it, the vegetables and fruits we see at the stores, produce stands, and out door farmer's markets are dirtier than our very own hands. They can contain pesticides, bacteria, germs, and contaminated water and soil. Think of this, imagine how many people have touched that head of lettuce or tomato you purchased at the store today. Some may have been fighting a cold or the flu. Others may not have properly washed their hands. Something to ponder.
With the global economy becoming more and more intertwined, it's difficult to know the origins of the fruits and vegetables we eat, unless of course we ask. The safest assumption we can make is that no matter if it's locally grown or imported, it's probably got some contaminants. We need to know how to wash them and thereby minimizing the exposure.
There are a number of different products on the market today that helps sterilize your fruits and vegetables. The only thing you're going to get generally is a product that will not work any better than a simple teaspoon of bleach to a quart of water. So keeping it simple, just soak what you're going to eat in the bleach/water solution in a large bowl for about 15 minutes. Once done, be sure to rinse thoroughly. While you're at the sink, don't forget to wash your hands very well. I've also heard that adding a fine grain salt to water will help kill some bacteria.
With all that said, washing or rinsing will only get rid of surface contaminants. Any internal contaminants will not be affected unless of course you are going to cook it. In that case, there's really no need to go through the steps above. Above all, there is no need to become a fanatic about all this. Some of you may simply rinse (as I do), while others will purchase food cleaning solutions or bleach. Just use your common sense, rinse items once you get them home, don't let vegetables and fruits sit around for an extended period, keep your fridge temperature at the recommended level, separate and throw away any that are spoiling or rotting, and always use clean hands. Spending more of your time enjoying your purchase than worrying about it is the ultimate goal.