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I've heard not to drink the water, but is it ok to eat fruit and vegetables?

I'm so looking forward to trying new foods in Turkey, but I've heard not to drink the water. Does this mean not to eat washed vegetables like salad too? Have any of you gotten sick ? What precautions should I take?

Posted by
5687 posts

I was on a small-boat cruise (12 passengers) off the coast of Turkey which served vegetables and local cheeses -- no hesitation in eating on the boat and no tummy problems. I would be more careful about picking up foods at sidewalk stands.

Posted by
1078 posts

Was in Istanbul in April of this year, and did a 12 day tour of Turkey last year, and had no problems eating fruits or salads anywhere, however, always drank bottled water. Don't know what the restuarants used, but never had a problem.
In April, we had an absolutely spectacular Shepard Salad and lots of fresh fruit on our 3 day stopover after visiting France.

Posted by
16866 posts

Our Turkish guides advise against drinking tap water in Istanbul, but say it's less of a concern in other parts of western Turkey. I know that the Lonely Planet book takes a more cautious stance. I've eaten uncooked salads all over, but if you're being careful, they would be something to avoid in Istanbul. Restaurants may use filtered water, but you won't really know.

Posted by
1186 posts

We did this tour a couple of years ago. We drank bottled water and used it to brush our teeth as well. My husband draped a piece of tp across the tap so we wouldn't forget in the am and brush our teeth with the tap water. We did eat some raw veggies (tomatoes and cucumbers are served at breakfast) and salad at one restaurant and had no issues. That being said, some of our fellow tour members did have intestinal issues so . . . I would say to bring along some over the counter meds in case the need arises.

Posted by
672 posts

I went on the Village Turkey tour a couple years ago and was very careful about drinking bottled water and using it for brushing my teeth. I was as careful as I could be with fresh fruits and veggies, but I still was sick quite a bit of my time there. Used a lot of Immodium. After two weeks of that, I took an antibiotic that I brought with me and I finally got back to normal. I was very thankful to have the antibiotic.

Posted by
14404 posts

Before I went, I was told by reliable sources (can't remember if it was locals or guidebooks) that the problem is with unfiltered water; that restaurants routinely use filtered water to wash produce, but street vendors and some kiosks will use tap water, thus making fresh produce potentially unsafe.

I drank fresh juices from kiosks with no ill effects. Maybe I have good tolerance, maybe it was safe and maybe I was just lucky.

Posted by
1966 posts

I went the super safe route during my two weeks there because I really dread those stomach issues. I did not drink any water except bottled water. I did not eat any salads or uncooked vegetables. I did eat some fruit - pomegranate seeds, some oranges. I found plenty to eat within these limitations. My mom branched out more - she ate some of the salads etc. on the buffet lines and she did have a couple of days when her stomach bothered her a bit.

Posted by
6059 posts

There is detailed information at the CDC website, CDC travelers info Look for travelers information, and pick Turkey or any other country and see what it says. CDC tracks this stuff all over the world.

Posted by
75 posts

Thanks so much for your advice. Think I will take a high potency probiotic and Imodium with me ....just in case.

Posted by
338 posts

You will probably be OK eating whatever you'd like, with emphasis on the word "probably". I've never taken any precautions in my travels to Turkey and never had a problem in Istanbul. However, many years ago I did pick up giardia (a freshwater parasite) in the greater-Adana area from what was probably fresh produce washed with water that was not clean. That was the same trip where I inadvertently ate cig kofte (a raw lamb meatball specialty), so that could have been a factor too. Anyway - I think you'll be fine eating whatever you'd like in cities and bigger towns or in areas that see a lot of tourists. In more remote areas you might want to stick to fully cooked items (e.g. stews, pides) and bottled water.

Please don't let my story scare you. This was one trip out of many. In my mind the mezzes before the main course are well worth the very slight risk. The food is outstanding. Bon appetite!