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Food Safety: The Farmers Market

By Sara Butler

Your local farmers market is a great place to find locally grown food for the whole family. These markets are only getting more popular and because of this, there are more things to consider about them -- especially when it comes to food safety. Markets generally have their own food safety rules and are subject to government regulations too. Still, there are a few basic guidelines you should follow to make sure you’re getting safe, fresh food.

Produce

The farmers market is full of fresh produce that probably tastes a whole lot better than the stuff trucked in from across the country at your supermarket. But it’s important to remember when buying produce at the farmers market to:

  • Wash your hands - Before and after you handle the produce, wash your hands with warm water and soap
  • Wash the produce - Make sure to wash the fruits and vegetables you buy under running water before you eat them, cook them, or cut them up; you don’t have to worry about soap -- water should work just fine! Even if you plan to peel it, you should still wash it.
  • Refrigerate - After you’ve cut or peeled your produce make sure to put it in the refrigerator within two hours

Juices

You can find a lot of fresh squeezed juices and ciders at the local farmers market, but make sure it’s pasteurized to kill bacteria before you buy. In pregnant women, older adults, and children, if the juice hasn’t been treated or pasteurized, then it can cause major health problems.

Cheese and Milk

When buying dairy products at the farmers market, make sure to:

  • Stay away from milk - Again, milk must be pasteurized in order to make it safe to drink Raw milk can carry dangerous microorganisms such as E. coli and salmonella that can make you very sick
  • Beware of soft cheese - If you’re pregnant, older, or a child, the soft cheeses sold at farmers markets can cause illness due to something called listeria. Make sure it’s been treated before buying

Eggs

There’s nothing like fresh eggs from the farmers market, but to keep you and your family safe you should:

  • Make sure they’re chilled - The FDA requires untreated eggs to be stored at 45 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Make sure they’re clean - Inspect the eggs before you buy to make sure they’re free from cracks and clean

Once you know what to look for at the farmers market, then you’ll be on top of food safety to help you stay healthy! 

To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Lynnwood, Wash.

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