Enjoying safe fruits and vegetables

Tips to keep your produce clean and safe.

Michigan fresh produce will be coming our way soon in gardens or at farmers markets. No matter what season it is or where you get your fresh fruits and vegetables from, safe handling of your fresh produce is very important. Michigan State University Extension recommends enjoying fresh fruits and vegetables at home by following the tips below to reduce the risk of harmful bacteria that may contaminate your delicious produce:

  • Inspect your produce when shopping or once you arrive home, looking for bruises or visible damage. If produce does have bruising or damage, throw it away.
  • Wash hands with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds before and after handling fresh fruits and vegetables.
  • Before and after preparing fresh fruits and vegetables clean all surfaces and utensils, including cutting boards and knives, with hot water and soap.
  • It is not recommended to wash all your produce after purchase. Just before use, rinse under running water only the fruits and vegetables you plan to eat, including those with skins or rinds, such as watermelon and squash.
  • While rinsing under running tap water, rub firm-skinned fruits and vegetables by hand or scrub with a clean brush.
  • Do not wash packaged fruits and vegetables labeled “ready-to-eat,” “washed” or “triple washed.” This could cause contamination of the clean produce.
  • Dry fruits and vegetables with a clean paper towel.
  • Never use soap or bleach to wash fresh fruits or vegetables, since these products are not meant to be eaten.
  • Refrigerate at or below 40 degrees Fahrenheit all fresh fruits and vegetables that have been cut or peeled within two hours of preparing.
  • Separate your produce from raw eggs, poultry, meat, seafood and household chemicals that may contaminate it. Raw protein foods contain harmful bacteria that can contaminate ready-to-eat foods such as produce and can lead to foodborne illness.

These few simple tips will keep your fresh produce food safe to enjoy for delicious meals and snacks.

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