Farmers market food safety tips
- Always wash your produce, even if you’re buying local, organic or pesticide-free produce. Research has shown washing with water to be just as effective as using veggie washes, vinegar solutions and detergents. Produce with firm skin like cantaloupes should be cleaned using a scrub brush. Soft-skinned produce should be rinsed under running water and patted dry with a clean paper towel. Even produce that will be eventually peeled such as bananas or cantaloupes should be washed, as bacteria on the surface can easily be transferred to the edible sections when cut.
- Inspect your food before buying it. Make sure that the produce you purchase is not bruised or damaged. Make sure eggs are properly chilled, clean and not cracked.
- Make sure meat is kept cold in closed, iced coolers. Bring a cooler or insulated bag to keep your meat cold and separate from other fresh produce. You do not want juices from raw meat (which may contain harmful bacteria) to contaminate your other items.
- When you get home from the farmers market, make sure to store your food items properly. Produce stored in the refrigerator should not be stored near or under raw meat, seafood, poultry or eggs, while produce stored at room temperature should be kept away from non-food items like household chemicals.
- Check the temperature in your refrigerator, as one in four (25 percent) household refrigerators is too warm. Fresh meats and dairy products along with perishable fruits and vegetables need to be stored below 41 degrees Fahrenheit.
- When cooking, remember to always wash your hands and use separate cutting boards for produce and raw meat.
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