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Food Safety Tips for Fruit and Vegetables

By Lana Bandoim

Whether you are putting together a delicious fruit salad or assembling a vegetable casserole, it is important to handle produce carefully. From paying attention to recalls to washing everything, there are several steps you can take to improve food safety in the kitchen.

Why Food Safety Matters

Fruit and vegetables are healthy diet additions, and doctors frequently encourage people to eat more of them. However, even the healthiest produce can still have foodborne pathogens. Salmonella and E. coli are common problems and cause many recalls. People with weaker immune systems or those who are pregnant are at a greater risk of becoming sick from these pathogens. Some bacteria can be deadly.

Steps for Picking Produce Safely

First, it is important to pay attention to recalls and immediately take action. If you hear about a recall for lettuce, papayas, sprouts or any other product, then follow the directions. In most cases, they require throwing away the affected items or returning them to the store.

Second, check fruit and vegetables at the store before buying them. Avoid the ones that are showing signs of wilting or spoiling. Do not buy fruit and vegetables with extensive bruising and damage. Ask the store manager about freshness if you are concerned.

When purchasing precut or packaged produce, pay attention to how it is stored in the store. Most precut fruit and vegetables require refrigeration. Some should be stored on ice. Do not buy packaged products that are not stored properly because the risk of food poisoning is higher.

Washing and Preparing Produce

Wash your hands before handling and preparing produce. Then, wash the fruit and vegetables completely. Make sure they are separated from raw meat or other sources of potential contamination. Do not use the same utensils and cutting boards for raw meat to prepare fruit or vegetables. If it is not possible to have two sets, then make sure to wash everything before cutting produce.  

Remember to refrigerate fruit and vegetables that will not be used right away. Produce can start to go bad quickly if it is left on a counter for a long time. Some fruit and vegetables start to wilt or turn brown.

Pay attention to how fruit and vegetables are handled in the kitchen. Follow these food safety tips and make sure everything you prepare is clean. Food poisoning is the fastest way to destroy a fun and healthy meal.  

To learn more about your health and wellness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Beaverton, Ore.

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