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You can reduce your risk of food-borne illness Featured

Buying Fresh Fruits and Vegetables:

  • Examine the produce carefully and avoid buying items that are bruised or damaged.
  • If buying pre-cut or ready-to-eat fruits and vegetables (e.g., cut melons, cut tomatoes, pre-washed salad), be sure they have been properly refrigerated (i.e., at 4°C or below). This means they should be displayed in a refrigerated container and should not just be sitting on top of ice.
  • In your grocery cart or hamper, keep fresh fruits and vegetables separated from other raw foods, such as meat, poultry, seafood and their juices. Make sure fruits and vegetables are also kept separate from these other raw foods when they are packed to take home.

Storing Fresh Fruits and Vegetables

  • When you get home, promptly refrigerate the fresh fruits and vegetables that need refrigeration. This includes all pre-cut and ready-to-eat produce. Ask your grocer if you are not certain whether specific items need to be refrigerated.
  • When you refrigerate fruits and vegetables, keep them separate from meat, poultry, seafood, and their juices to avoid cross-contamination.
  • Keep your refrigerator at the proper temperature (4°C or below). Use a fridge thermometer to check.

Handling and Preparing Fresh Fruits and Vegetables

  • Always start by washing your hands for at least 20 seconds using hot water and soap.
  • Make sure your utensils, cutting boards, and counter-tops have also been cleaned with hot soapy water. When cleaning, avoid using sponges or other materials that are difficult to keep clean and dry, as these can spread bacteria around.
  • Before eating or preparing fresh fruits and vegetables:
    • Cut away any bruised or damaged areas, since harmful bacteria can thrive in these areas. Be sure to clean your knife with hot water and soap before using it again.
    • Wash fruits and vegetables thoroughly under fresh, cool, running water, even if you plan to peel them. This helps prevent the spread of any bacteria that may be present. (This is a general safety tip that may not always apply. For example, you do not need to wash a banana before peeling it.
    • Use a clean produce brush to scrub items that have firm surfaces (e.g., oranges, melons, potatoes, carrots, etc.). It is not necessary to use produce cleansers to wash fresh fruits and vegetables.
    • Ready-to-eat, bagged, pre-washed leafy greens do not need to be washed again before eating. However, pre-cut or pre-washed leafy greens sold in open bags or containers should be washed before eating.
    • Place peeled or cut fruits and vegetables on/into a separate clean plate or container to prevent them from becoming cross-contaminated.
  • Refrigerate fresh fruits and vegetables within two hours of peeling or cutting them. Discard any cut fruits and vegetables that have been left at room temperature for more than two hours.

It is also important to pay attention to food recalls and remove affected food items from your home.

Last modified onMonday, 12 May 2014 13:05

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