As holiday season approaches you will be handling more food and may become careless because you are rushed. The Food and Drug Administration advises us that being aware of safe handling and preparation practices can help to prevent foodborne infections and illnesses. Some simple precautions will help to reduce risk of illness and get you on your way to good and healthy fun with your family and friends.
- Purchase fruit or vegetables which are not damaged or bruised. It won't be worth it if you buy bruised produce because it is a few cents less, then you get become ill.
- When buying freshly cut fruit or vegetables it should be surrounded by ice. Look for fruit in container's that is is actually buried in the ice with the label showing only. If you remove it from the ice to look at it, replace it just as you found it. Never leave fresh fruit just lying around if you decide not to purchase it.
- When you get home from shopping, no matter how tired you feel, put any produce that needs refrigeration away promptly.
- Your hands should be washed with hot soapy water before and after handling fresh produce, or raw meat, poultry, or seafood. Wash your hands after any other non-food chore before you make yourself or little Timmy a peanut butter sandwich.
- Alway wash fresh fruits and vegetables with cool tap water before eating.
- Use a clean produce brush to scrub melons and cucumbers, etc.
- Keep your counter surfaces, cutting boards and utensils clean with hot soapy water and a solution of 1 teaspoon of chlorine bleach in 1 quart of water.
- After handling raw meat, poultry, or seafood handling sanitize the cutting board (non-wood surface is best) and your hands before touching any other foods or utensils, etc.
- The FDA says '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.'
- Buy only fish that is firm, clear eyed, non-slimy and clean smelling. Wash your hands with hot soapy water each time you handle fish. Lemon juice to the hands and finger tips will help to remove the fish smell.
Remember following simple safe food handling steps will help reduce the risk of foodborne illness from fresh produce.
Adapted From the Food and Drug Administration