Handling Fresh Produce

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.

Buying Produce

  • 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.

Preparing Produce

  • 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.

Storing Produce

  • 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.