AUG 25, 2016 3:41 PM PDT

Are Blemished Fruits Safe to Eat?

WRITTEN BY: Xuan Pham

According to the Food and Agricultural Organization, people squander about 2.9 trillion pounds of food every year. To put that in perspective, 2.9 trillion pounds of food would be more than enough to feed the 800 million people who go hungry every day. The exorbitant food waste is due, in large, to us - the consumers.

How many times have you picked up fruit or vegetables based on how it looks? Many of us tend to pass up on non-uniform produce or produce that looks deformed, though these are perfectly fine to consume. Another common situation is passing up or chucking produce because of small brown blemishes, also known as "seconds."

As it turns out, these blemishes are caused by microbes that infected the plant or were transferred on the produce post-harvesting. In many cases, the microbes that caused the blemishes are not strong enough for our immune system. This means these not-so-perfect fruits and vegies are relatively safe. However, the taste of the produce can be compromised. And an easy solution that will solve this and food waste is to simply cut away the blemishes and enjoy the rest.

Other tips for cutting down food waste include not over-buying and store the fruits and vegies properly to prevent spoilage. And when it comes down to it, no fruit or vegetable is too ‘ugly' to eat.
About the Author
I am a human geneticist, passionate about telling stories to make science more engaging and approachable. Find more of my writing at the Hopkins BioMedical Odyssey blog and at TheGeneTwist.com.
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