How do I make sure the fresh produce I'm buying is safe?
Whether they're grown in another country or in our own backyard, fruits and vegetables sometimes can harbor dangerous pathogens. They can be contaminated by the soil they're grown in, by water used for irrigation or rinsing and even by exposure to contaminants in our homes.
You can greatly reduce the risks by following a few simple rules:
- The fresher the better. Avoid buying produce with wilted, moldy or slimy parts where bacteria can multiply. Only buy what you need, and use it within a few days.
- Wash all fruits and vegetables under running tap water. This includes fruits with rinds or skin. Don't use detergent or bleach, which could be absorbed through the skin.
- Avoid cross-contamination. Keep produce away from raw meat, poultry and seafood. Also keep it away from any utensils or plates that have not been cleaned after being used to prepare those items.
- Refrigerate cut fruit and vegetables immediately.