According to the University of California Davis Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources, one out of ever four people suffers from a food-borne illness every year. Most of the time, these illnesses stem from something carried on the outside of fresh fruit or vegetables. Young children are at especially high risk.
Pesticides and Bacteria
Fruit and vegetable plants and trees draw a range of different pests during their growth, so gardeners commonly treat them with both organic and chemical pesticides. Those chemicals stick to the fruits and vegetables, and may sicken or poison any person who eats them.
The best possible option is to clean any fresh fruit or vegetable before consumption. Although many people clean their food with running water, National Public Radio's "Morning Edition" suggests that putting vinegar or lemon juice in the water increases its cleaning power. The story, "What Does it Take to Clean Fresh Food," broadcast in September 2007, also suggests using a bleach and water solution of 1 tsp bleach to 1 qt. water to clean cutting boards and counters after cooking. University of California at Davis Extension warns cooks not to use detergents or other synthetic substances on the food itself.