Life Times Newsletter

Spring 2007
Vol. 9, No. 2

How to keep fruits and vegetables safe

Mary Schroepfer, MED
Nutrition & Health Education

    Fruits and vegetables are an important part of a healthy diet. Careful handling of these products reduces the risks of foodborne illness.
    Recently there have been cases of fresh melons, prewashed spinach, raspberries, herb mixtures, and green onions being contaminated with germs (bacteria, viruses, and parasites), usually from the intestinal tracts of animals. Harmful bacteria may be in the soil or water where produce grows. Or fresh produce may become contaminated after it is harvested, such as during preparation or storage.

Consumers can take steps to avoid contamination of fruits and vegetables.




Pre-washed produce

Precut, bagged produce items like lettuce are often pre-washed. If so, it will be stated on the packaging. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), pre-washed, bagged produce can be used without further washing. As an extra caution, wash the produce again just before you use it. Precut or pre-washed produce in open bags should be washed before using.

    Avoiding cross contamination


Safe Handling of Raw Produce and Fresh-Squeezed Fruit and
Vegetable Juices
. (Updated July 12, 2006).  FDA, Center for Food
Safety and Applied Nutrition.

Fruits and Vegetables: Food Safety. (October 2006). FN-JSK.159.
University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service.


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University of Missouri Extension Editor: Roxanne T. Miller