Baltimore County Now
Dr. Barbara McLean, Chief, Bureau of Prevention and Protection
Baltimore County Department of Health
Summer is the perfect time to enjoy fresh fruits and vegetables, but even these items require proper care and preparation. The proportion of foodborne illnesses associated with fresh fruits and vegetables has increased over the past few years, but you can enjoy them safely by knowing and following these four steps:
When shopping, check to make sure that fresh and packaged fruits and vegetables are not bruised or damaged.
Wash hands with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds before and after handling fresh fruits and vegetables.
Clean all surfaces with hot water and soap— countertops, cutting boards, knives and peelers before and after food preparation.
Wash all fruits and vegetables thoroughly under running water before eating, cutting or cooking. Use a clean vegetable brush to scrub thicker-skinned produce such as melons and cucumbers.
Washing fruits and vegetables with detergent, bleach or commercial produce washes is not
When shopping, keep fresh fruits and vegetables separate from household chemicals and raw meat, poultry and seafood. Keep them apart in the grocery cart, in the grocery bags and at home, in the refrigerator.
Do not use the same cutting board for fruits and vegetables that you’ve used for your raw meat, poultry or seafood before thoroughly washing it with hot water and soap.
Refrigerate all cut, peeled or cooked fruit and vegetables promptly.
Prevent fruits and vegetables from touching raw meat, poultry, seafood or their juices.
When preparing produce, be sure to remove and throw away any bruised or damaged portions. Then wash thoroughly under running water
Fruits and vegetables should never be left out for more than two hours after cutting, peeling or cooking
I hope these tips will enable you and your family to fresh fruits and vegetables safely this summer. For more information on food safety, visit: www.fightbac.org/.