With our growing-friendly climate and the availability of fast transportation options from far-removed points, we have the opportunity to enjoy fresh fruits and vegetables are available year-round.

An individual holds his hands over his stomach, indicating pain, with food on a nearby counter. [CREDIT: pixabay.com]If we want to truly enjoy these delicious and nutritious treats, though, we need to know how to handle them to prevent a foodborne illness.

The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that salmonellaE. coli, and listeria and other germs sometimes found on fresh produce cause a large percentage of foodborne illnesses in the United States. These harmful bacteria can reach produce in a number of ways: from bacteria-laden soil or water where the produce was grown, contact with contaminated items after harvesting (such as during home preparation), and even during storage.

Don’t fret. Here are two wonderful resources for safely handling raw produce:

  • U.S. FDA “Food Facts” – contains a wide array of pages, documents and more on topics from bottled water to salvaged food, including seven pages on food safety topics alone.
  • Fight Bac! – This campaign by The Partnership for Food Safety Education, a consortium of goverment, industry and consumer organizations, has content related to safety with home food handling and delivered meals, causes and symptoms of foodborne illness, and much more.

So, next time you are tempted to eat some grapes or fresh strawberries without properly rinsing them, remember these guidelines.

And, of course, always remember that food safety STARTS with proper handwashing.

by Maria Portelos-Rometo
Source: UF/IFAS Pest Alert
Note: All images and contents are the property of UF/IFAS.


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