While fresh fruits and vegetables are essential for a nutritious diet, they need to be handled properly to avoid potential bacteria or illness. These simple steps can ensure your produce remains fresh and healthy.
- Make sure pre-cut produce is refrigerated or surrounded by ice.
- Choose fruits and vegetables without bruises, cuts and obvious damage.
- Bag fresh fruits and vegetables separately from raw, unfrozen meats, poultry and pork.
- Always wash hands before handling fresh produce.
- Rinse all produce thoroughly (including “pre-washed” produce) under running water before use.
- Wash the exterior of melons before cutting, as well as produce being peeled (such as cucumbers). Dry with a clean paper towel.
- Use a salad spinner to rinse and dry lettuces, greens and herbs.
- Remove all damaged areas on produce before using. If produce looks or smells rotten, throw it away immediately.
- Thoroughly wash all cutting boards, utensils, dishes and countertop surfaces used to prepare meats before reusing them for produce served raw.
- Refrigerate all produce that has been pre-cut or peeled.
- Store perishable fresh fruits and vegetables (such as strawberries, peaches and greens) in your refrigerator.
- If bagging cut produce, add a paper towel to the bag to absorb excess moisture.