Fresh produce in Guatemala
Sean Catherall (CatherallS@SLTRIB.COM)
Sat, 9 Mar 1996 03:26:33 -0600
Like Alice Butler, I lived in Brazil at one time. My units in Southern
California would also go to camporees in Mexico from time to time. The
advice I was given to avoid bacterial and parisitic infection in those
countries (and it seemed to work pretty well) was:
1. When choosing fresh fruits and vegetables, give preference to those that
can be peeled and then remove the peel before eating them raw (bananas,
apples, oranges, peas in the pod, avocados, cucumbers, even tomatoes can be
2. Consider using canned fruits and vegetables instead of fresh. They have
gone through a heating process which kills the harmful bacteria.
3. Boil fresh produce before eating if it did not have a peel, can or jar
"wrapped" around it (squash, cabbage, etc.). (I would assume boiling for
4-5 minutes would be the best thing to do--like sterilizing water.)
4. Avoid eating raw unpeeled produce, especially those that grow on the
ground (strawberries, lettuce, etc.).
5. If absolutely necessary, you can eat raw unpeeled produce after chemical
sterilization (but it tastes so bad, who would want to?)!
Also, you might want to watch out for:
Soft drinks: generally safe (due to the bottling process), but do not put
ice in it (frozen contaminated water!) and clean the bottle or can before
putting your mouth on it.
Water: bottled water is best; water that has been filtered and boiled is
next best; chemically sterilized water is next best; raw tap water, well
water or river water is worst.
BTW, is sterilization of untreated drinking water (while primitive camping,
for example) something done by Scouts throughout the country or just in the
West? Due to the high potential for ghiardia lamblia contamination
(probably misspelled), we sterilize all drinking water that does not come
from a tap by filtering and boiling, high grade filtering (reverse osmosis
process) or iodine sterilization. Chlorine treatment and other common
chemical treatments are considered inadequate. This information was given
at practically every roundtable and high adventure leader training course I
participated in in the San Diego County (now Desert Pacific) Council. What
is the collective wisdom of the list subscribers on water sterilization?
I'm no public health expert and certainly no doctor. Just my two cents' worth.
"B.C." Sean Catherall
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City