As the weather warms, we start to get excited about fresh produce, with people starting their gardens and farmer’s markets popping up.
That said, chances are you’ll still purchase some of your produce at the grocery store and, as 2018 taught us, that can be risky. From tainted lettuce to sprouts, produce is an important part of food safety.
In 2015, the FDA enacted The Produce Safety Rule, which federally regulated standards for production, harvest, and handling of fruits and veggies in an effort to prevent contamination that causes foodborne illness. This rule targets worker health, hygiene, and training, water standards, and equipment, tool, and building sanitation.
In spite of this rule, people still get sick from produce, so it’s important to practice your own produce safety.
Follow these tips when purchasing and preparing fresh produce to keep you and your family safe from possible foodborne illnesses.
Inspect Produce Before Purchase
When choosing fresh-cut produce, try to choose items that aren’t damaged or bruised. Also choose items that are stored properly in coolers or surrounded by ice.
Properly Store Produce
Once home and putting away your groceries, be sure to store food properly. Keep all produce, precut or otherwise, refrigerated at temperature of 40°F or lower. Be sure to keep produce separate from raw meat and poultry.
Wash Produce and Surfaces
When you’re ready to use your produce, make sure you’re washing the produce and countertops you’re using to prep them in order to prevent cross-contamination.
Even though it’s an important part, there is so much more to food safety than produce. Check out our Food Handler training to get more in-depth food safety information.