By Christine V. Amstutz RN MN
Supervisor Health Services
The U. S. food supply is among the safest in the world. However, organisms that you can’t see, smell, or taste (bacteria, viruses and tiny parasites) are everywhere in our environment. As health and nutrition experts continue to recommend we add more fruits and vegetables to a healthy daily diet, it becomes increasingly important that consumers know how to handle them properly.
The Partnership for Food Safety Education recommends six steps to safer fruits and vegetables. Check the fruits and vegetables for bruises. Fresh cut fruits and vegetables like packed salads should have been refrigerated at the store before buying.
Clean your hands with warm water and soap before and after handling fresh fruits and vegetables. All surfaces and utensils should be cleaned with hot water and soap. Rinse all fruits and vegetables under running tap water and dry on a paper towel. Do not use detergent or bleach to wash fresh fruits or vegetables.
Separate the fresh fruits and vegetables from raw meat, poultry and seafood. Do not use the same cutting board without cleaning with hot water and soap. Cook or throw away fruits or vegetables that have touched raw meat, poultry, seafood, or their juices. Chill all cut peeled or cooked fresh fruits and vegetables within two hours. Throw away if in doubt!
If you have any questions, or concerns about food safety please contact:
U.S. Dept. of Agriculture (888) 674-6854
Partnership for Food Safety Education http://www.fightbac.org