Tips for Fresh Produce Safety
- Make sure fruits and vegetables do not touch surfaces exposed to raw meat or poultry.
- Thoroughly wash fruits and vegetables under running water before cutting, cooking, or combining with other ingredients.
- The water should be slightly warmer than the produce.
- Take time to thoroughly wash uncut leafy greens, such as lettuce and spinach. Remove outer leaves and pull the greens completely apart; rinse thoroughly.
- Many precut, bagged produce items (like lettuce) are pre-washed. If the package indicates the contents have been pre-washed, you can use the produce without further washing.
- Even if you plan to peel produce before eating, it is still important to wash it first. Drying produce with a clean cloth towel or paper towel may further reduce bacteria that may be present.
- Scrub firm produce, such as melons and cucumbers, with a clean produce brush. Refrigerate sliced melons, cut tomatoes, and cut leafy greens at 41° F or lower. These foods have been implicated in foodborne illness outbreaks and need refrigeration for safety.
- Do not serve raw seed sprouts to high-risk populations. This would include elderly people, infants and preschool children, pregnant women, and anyone with a weakened immune system.
For additional research-based, unbiased information on food safety, visit: www.iowafoodsafety.org