Summer is an amazing time to reap the nutritional benefits of an abundance of fruits and vegetables. However, improper handling and storage may place you at risk for food borne illness.
Consider these 10 important tips when handling food:
Inspect produce for damage or bruising, which may increase the chances of bacteria entering into the produce that can make you ill.
Make sure pre-cut produce is maintained at the correct temperature. Be cautious of samples at farmer’s markets that have been sitting out for long periods in warm weather.
Put produce away as soon as you get home.
Do not wash produce until you are ready to eat it. Washing before you store it can potentially promote bacterial growth and enhance spoilage.
Wash your hands and thoroughly clean counter tops, cutting boards, and knives.
Use a separate cutting board for meat, poultry and fish to prevent cross-contamination.
Wash fruits and vegetables well, especially those with rough skins such as melons. There is a greater risk of introducing bacteria from the outside to inside.
Consider the use of a vegetable brush.
If you do not eat all the produce you have prepared, place in a clean storage container and not back into the original packaging.
Use insulated containers and cold packs to keep your food at a safe temperature when going on picnics and outings.