Tips for Fresh Produce Safety

— Written By Eleanor Summers and last updated by

Eating a variety of fruits and vegetables is healthy. However, care must be taken to be sure fruits and vegetables do not become contaminated with harmful bacteria.

It is possible to find harmful bacteria on fruits and vegetables, hands, kitchen counters and sinks, even when they look clean.

At the supermarket, put fresh fruits and vegetables in separate bags from meat, poultry, and fish. When you get home, store produce in the refrigerator produce drawer or on a shelf above meat products.

Remember to clean the sink with hot soapy water or cleanser before and after washing and preparing fresh fruits and vegetables. Rinse produce under running water. Do not use antibacterial soaps or dish detergent. When possible, scrub with a clean brush or rub with hands and dry with disposable paper towels.

Best practices for protecting you and your family from harmful bacteria include using a different cutting board and preparation area for meat, poultry, fish and fresh fruits and vegetables. Sanitize cutting boards and food preparation areas by using a solution of one (1) teaspoon chlorine bleach in a quart (4 cups) of water for rinsing cutting boards, sinks, and countertops. You can also sanitize by placing cutting boards in the dishwasher with other items generally washed on a normal cleaning cycle. Remember to sanitize the brush you used for cleaning fruits and vegetables.

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