Fresh produce is a treasured gift of the summer season. You may have heard of people getting sick from eating contaminated produce. It can happen when bacteria get on the produce from the soil or water while it was growing, during the time it was harvested and transported, from shopper’s hands at the store, and from your own hands when you prepare it.
Here are a few tips to reduce the risk of foodborne illness in produce.
- Store it properly. Store perishable fruits and vegetables in a clean refrigerator at 41° F or below.
- Keep them separated from raw meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs. Use separate cutting boards and utensils for produce and raw meats. Keep in mind that cutting boards, dishes, and utensils need to be washed with soap and hot water after being in contact with raw meats.
- Wash produce under running water before eating. Whether the produce is conventionally grown, organic, or home grown it is important to wash it well and pat it dry with a clean cloth towel or a paper towel. Rubbing or scrubbing produce under running water is the recommended method for washing produce – no need for soaps or detergents.
- Prepare produce safely. Always begin with clean hands – wash them for 20 seconds with soap and warm water before and after preparing food. Cut up washed produce on a clean surface with a clean knife. Use clean dishes and utensils for serving.