||FDA Advises Consumers About Fresh Produce Safety
Information For Public Health Officials & The Public
At home, chill and refrigerate foods. After purchase, put produce that needs refrigeration away promptly. (Fresh whole produce such as
bananas and potatoes do not need refrigeration.) Fresh produce should
be refrigerated within two hours of peeling or cutting. Leftover cut
produce should be discarded if left at room temperature for more than
Wash hands often. Hands should be washed with hot soapy water before and after handling fresh produce, or raw meat, poultry, or seafood, as well as after using the bathroom, changing diapers, or handling
Wash all fresh fruits and vegetables with cool tap water immediately before eating. Don't use soap or detergents. Scrub firm produce, such as melons and cucumbers, with a clean produce brush. Cut away any bruised or damaged areas before eating.
Wash surfaces often. Cutting boards, dishes, utensils, and counter tops should be washed with hot soapy water and sanitized after coming in
contact with fresh produce, or raw meat, poultry, or seafood. Sanitize
after use with a solution of 1 teaspoon of chlorine bleach in 1 quart
Don't cross contaminate. Use clean cutting boards and utensils when
handling fresh produce. If possible, use one clean cutting board for
fresh produce and a separate one for raw meat, poultry, and seafood.
During food preparation, wash cutting boards, utensils or dishes that
have come into contact with fresh produce, raw meat, poultry, or
seafood. Do not consume ice that has come in contact with fresh produce
or other raw products.
Use a cooler with ice or use ice gel packs when transporting or storing perishable food outdoors, including cut fresh fruits and vegetables.
The Food and Drug Administration is advising consumers to be aware of safe handling and preparation practices for fresh fruits and
vegetables. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has reported
that the occurrence of foodborne disease increases during the summer
months for all foods, including fresh produce.
Foodborne illness can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections
in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened
immune systems. Healthy persons with foodborne illness can experience
fever, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain.
Following are some steps that consumers can take to reduce the risk of foodborne illness from fresh produce:
- At the store, purchase produce that is not bruised or damaged. If
buying fresh cut produce, be sure it is refrigerated or surrounded by
Following these steps will help reduce the risk of foodborne illness
from fresh produce.
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Editor: Susan K. Boyer, RN
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