updated 2/8/2011 7:16:55 PM ET 2011-02-09T00:16:55

SAN DIEGO, Feb. 8, 2011 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- You will never look at an unwashed apple or vegetables the same after seeing results of recent testing done by Quadrants Scientific Inc.  

The San Diego-based analytical laboratory found significant levels of bacteria on fruit and vegetables purchased at local grocery stores in research it did for NBCSanDiego TV station.

"You just assume food from the grocery store is free from bacterial contamination but it may not be," said Mark Shannon, Quadrants president and chief executive.

Company technicians used strict scientific procedures to test the fruit's surfaces and found a quarter million microorganisms on the unwashed apples, including bacillus, leifsonia and micrococcus bacteria.

"It was the same kind of thing we found on a carrot," said Shannon.

Such numbers might pose a health risk to the elderly, immuno-compromised and young children.

But after washing the fruit and vegetables for 15 seconds with cold water (the minimum recommended by the USDA) the results were dramatically different.

Only 5,000 microorganisms were found on the washed apples, a 98 percent reduction after a simple cleaning. Shannon said special soaps used to clean produce are overkill because a simple rinse in water is effective.

Shannon also recommends washing produce with a peel as well (e.g. avocado) because a knife can transfer contamination from the skin to the meat during the preparation process.

NBC Channel 7/39 aired What's Hidden on Produce on Feb. 3 and 4. To view the segment, go to: http://www.nbcsandiego.com/news/health/Tests-Reveal-Whats-Hidden-on-Fruits-and-Vegetables-115277949.html

Following passage last month of the federal Food Safety and Modernization Act NBC News San Diego hired Quadrants Scientific to test fresh fruit before and after washing.

Each year, food-borne illness strikes 48 million Americans, hospitalizing a hundred thousand and killing thousands.   The FDA will for the first time have a congressional mandate to inspect domestic food processing facilities. And the legislation significantly enhances FDA's ability to oversee the millions of food products coming into the United States from other countries each year. 

Quadrants Scientific, Inc. for the past 15 years has been ensuring product safety and purity for a variety of customers. Its client base includes pharmaceutical, biotech and medical device firms that are regulated by the Food and Drug Administration as well as companies that provide cosmetics and food to consumers. Quadrants founder Shannon has been in the quality assurance and testing field for more than 33 years.

Sources: Catherine Garcia, Anchor, NBC News San Diego


Phone: (619) 578-0247

CONTACT: Mark Shannon
         Quadrants Scientific Inc.
         11956 Bernardo Plaza Drive
         San Diego, CA 92128
         (858) 618-4708

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