Some research indicates that there may well be correlation between the absence of certain microscopic organisms in fruit and vegetables and IBS (irritable bowel syndrome)
We know that Iron age man was able to tolerate many more types of bacteria than we as modern men can. Certain forms of Salmonella which would make us quite ill had little of no effect on iron age people. This could be attributed to the practice of eating more raw or dried meat during those times. Also, hunted meat which is left for some time without chilling will develop bacteria within the meat.
In our age, meat should be properly and professionally handled and cooked. The same goes for dairy produce, eggs, fish and all other forms of highly perishable foods.
Research into vegetables and fruits had indicated that some micro organisms which dwell on the outer skin can be critical for a healthy bowel. Allegedly, these micro organisms stimulate a healthy immune reaction of the bowel which helps to maintain a healthy bowel tone.
Many would disagree with this, claiming that all vegetables should be thoroughly cleaned before eating and while one micro organism may be questionably beneficial, there may be present other more harmful micro organisms present which to many would justify the sterilization of all microscopic life on the plant. This is, of course, a virtual impossibility to achieve completely, unless the fruit or vegetable in question is thoroughly cooked.
Personally, I would say that the best course of action is to maintain a clean kitchen régime, washing all fruit and vegetables before use and integration into your dishes. However, I can see little harm in occasionally eating an apple, pear or some berries straight off the bush.
As living organisms we have evolved in symbiosis with a large array of bacteria, virus’, fungi, moulds and other microscopic organisms. We need them for the digestion of our food and to fend off other more harmful bacteria and other invaders. Without them the equilibrium of the functioning of our bodies would be out of balance and we would become quite sick if this imbalance was to persist for any prolonged period of time.
Luckily, most of us are a lot less hygienic than we would like to think and we are exposed to many of the micro organisms in the environment as we progress through our daily life. Many of us keep cats, dogs and other pet life. We live around dust which is mostly our own dead skin, mould spores, and soil particles. We breathe in sand and other small soil particles which can be infested with micro organisms. We touch our surroundings constantly and pick up whatever micro organisms are around. Many micro organisms live in our water. It is a physical impossibility to get away from them.
We only have a problem with those bacteria which are considered pathogenic (or disease causing). Food hygiene is necessary to reduce the risk of being infected with pathogens by preventing the infestation of or kitchens and preventing the infection of our food with those dangerous micro organism species.