Food Safety in Terms of Fruits and Vegetables
Fruits and vegetables are essential components of a healthy diet. However, there have been reports of E. coli outbreaks. E. coli and salmonella serve as reminders to ensure that fresh produce is safe to consume. These pointers can be beneficial.
Points to Note When Purchasing Fruits and Vegetables
No matter which product you choose, whether it’s a packaged product, a bulk product, an organic product, or a traditionally grown product, the chances of harmful bacteria sticking to it are always small. This can happen anywhere between the field and the kitchen, picking, transporting, packing, etc.
Be sure to inspect before buying fruits and vegetables. Do not buy items that have visible cuts or skin damage that may contain bacteria.
Moreover, remember these things:
- For cooked items such as bagged salads, select only items that are stored on ice or in the refrigerator. Be sure to check the date of best used by.
- If it takes more than an hour to drive home, consider putting a cooler box or thermal bag in your car to keep the pre-packed and pre-cut products fresh.
- Grocery stores separate raw meat, chicken, seafood, and eggs from produce and other groceries in carts and shopping bags.
You’ve probably seen the term “certified organic” on the USDA label. This indicates that the product was cultivated or manufactured without pesticides, synthetic ingredients, or biotechnology. However, bacterial contamination can occur regardless of whether the product is an organic product or a traditional product.
Fresh Produce Refrigeration
For safe storage of produce, the refrigerator and freezer should be cooled sufficiently to keep them fresh and prevent bacterial growth. Keep the refrigerator at a temperature between 0 ° C (32 ° F) and 5 ° C (40 ° F). Check the temperature with the thermometer in the refrigerator. When you cook produce, heat kills any bacteria.
Fruits and Vegetables Safety Preparation
When preparing fresh produce, follow these steps to keep it safe to eat:
- Before preparing or eating food, wash your hands with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds.
- Separate raw meats, poultry, and seafood from produce and ready-to-eat foods.
- Before and after using utensils and surfaces in food preparation, wash them with hot, soapy water.
- Scrub all fruits and vegetables with plain water to remove dirt and bacteria (even if you plan to peel them).
- Wash melons, such as cantaloupes and watermelons, before cutting to avoid bacteria spreading from the rind to the knife and into the fruit.
- Even if the packaging states that the lettuce has been pre-washed, rinse it.
- To help remove bacteria, dry produce with a paper towel or clean cloth towel.
- All cut and peeled produce should be refrigerated.
- After each use, wash cutting boards in hot, soapy water. Separate boards should be used for meat and produce. Replace worn plastic or wooden chopping boards with difficult-to-clean grooves that can contain bacteria.
You may see the produce washes on sale, but you don’t need them. By simply following these precautions to prevent food poisoning, families can safely enjoy fresh ingredients.
Get fresh produce from any of our locations. Assured that Fresh Farms got your back when it comes to providing freshest fruits and vegetables in the city!
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