SILVER SPRING, Md., July 20, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Summer is a great time to enjoy fresh fruits, vegetables, and juices. However, it is important to safely handle these foods because they are often consumed raw. Some foodborne disease-causing germs multiply faster in warm weather – making food safety more important as temperatures rise.
To keep nutritious produce and fresh-squeezed juices safe, follow these food safety tips:
- Purchase produce that is not bruised or damaged.
- When choosing pre-cut or fresh-cut produce (such as half a watermelon or bagged salad greens that have been cut), choose items that are refrigerated or on ice.
- Keep produce separate from raw meat, poultry, and seafood in your cart and shopping bags.
- Wash uncut produce under running water before eating, cutting, or cooking, and dry with a clean cloth towel or paper towel to further reduce disease-causing germs that may be present.
- Even if you plan to peel a fruit or vegetable, wash it first so dirt and disease-causing germs aren't transferred from the outside to the inside.
- Washing fruits and vegetables with soap, detergent, or commercial produce wash is not recommended. Soap and household detergents can be absorbed by produce, despite thorough rinsing, and can make you sick.
- Scrub firm produce, such as melons, with a clean produce brush.
- For pre-packaged produce, read the label – if it says pre-washed and ready-to-eat, you can use it without further washing.
Prevent Cross Contamination
- Always wash hands before and after preparing food!
- Wash cutting boards, dishes, utensils, and countertops with soap and hot water between the preparation of raw meat, poultry, and seafood and the preparation of produce that won't be cooked.
- When using plastic or non-porous cutting boards, wash them in the dishwasher after use.
- Cut away damaged or bruised areas on fresh fruits and vegetables before preparing and/or eating.
- Discard produce if it looks rotten.
- Keep perishable fresh-cut produce in a clean refrigerator at 40° F or below. Always refrigerate produce that is bought pre-cut or peeled.
- In the refrigerator, store raw meat, poultry, and seafood so that their juices can't leak onto produce.
Check Your Juice
- Young children, older adults, pregnant women, and people with weakened immune systems (such as transplant patients and individuals with HIV/AIDS, cancer, or diabetes) are at increased risk for serious illnesses or even death from drinking juices that haven't been pasteurized or otherwise treated to control disease-causing germs.
- Look for pasteurized or otherwise treated products in your grocers' refrigerated sections, frozen food cases, or in non-refrigerated containers, such as juice boxes, bottles, or cans.
- Untreated juices sold in refrigerated cases of grocery or health food stores, cider mills, and farmers' markets must contain a warning label indicating that the product has not been pasteurized. Warning labels are not required for juice or cider that is fresh-squeezed and sold by the glass. If you are unsure if a juice product is pasteurized – be sure to ask!
Contact: Media: 1-301-796-4540 Consumers: 1-888-SAFEFOOD (toll free)
SOURCE U.S. Food and Drug Administration