Consider the following tips when purchasing produce to reduce the risk of food-borne illness:
- Produce should not be bruised or damaged at time of purchase.
- Refrigerate produce promptly.
- Wash hands often, with hot, soapy water before and after handling fresh produce as well as raw meat, poultry and/or seafood.
- Wash prep surfaces often, either by using the “sanitize” cycle in the dishwasher, or by washing.
- Cutting boards, dishes, utensils and counter tops should be washed with hot soapy water, and sanitized with a solution (1 tsp. of chlorine bleach in 1 quart of water).
- Wash fruits and vegetables with cool water before cutting, eating raw or cooking. Do not use soap or detergent to wash produce, except for firm fruits such as melons. Melons can be washed with water and a mild detergent on the outside only. No soap should be used on the fleshy, edible parts of the melon.
- Scrub firm produce with a brush.
- Avoid cross-contamination by using clean cutting boards when handling fresh produce.
- If possible, keep a separate board for produce and one for raw meat, poultry and seafood.
- Fresh cut produce should be refrigerated within 2 hours of peeling or cutting.
- Cut away and discard any bruised or damaged area of fruit or vegetables.
- Discard cut produce if left at room temperature for more than 2 hours.
- Do not use ice that has come in contact with fresh produce or other raw products.
- Use a cooler with ice or ice gel packs when transporting or storing perishable foods outdoors, including cut fresh fruits and vegetables.