Are pecked berries harmful?

A:

Actually this food safety issue is not just limited to blueberries. All produce needs to be sorted for quality and cleaned. OSU Extension recommends that produce be rinsed in cool, running water and use friction from your hands to remove any dust and dirt. Blueberries bumping or rolling around against each other in your sieve or colander, could also count as "friction." Your description sounds like you were very careful and thorough. There could be very small amounts of dirt and/or pathogens left on produce, but it is within human tolerance levels. The benefit of eating fresh or preserved produce far outweighs the risk if you follow the basic cleaning directions outlined above.

Additionally, we do not recommend adding soap or bleach to cleaning water or using produce "washes" that are sold in some stores. The produce "washes" have not been shown to be more effective than rinsing in cool, running water with friction, so are just an added, unnecessary expense.

For more information on freezing produce see Freezing Fruits and Vegetables.

You and your family might also be interested in You Can Prevent Foodborne Illness, which describes washing fruit.

Enjoy your blueberries!

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