Farmers Market Week begins Aug. 3, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and an independent public health organization wants consumers to remember a few things about food safety.
Uncooked produce is twice as likely to make you sick than meat because fruits and vegetables can attract bacteria from the soil or water where it’s grown, notes NSF International, citing data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Here are some tips from the group and from foodsafety.gov, a site maintained by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services:
+Look for produce that isn’t bruised or damaged.
+If the items are cut, like watermelon, make sure it’s refrigerated or surrounded by ice. Make sure eggs are chilled.
+Meat should be in closed coolers and take it home in an insulated bag, separate from the vegetables and fruit.
+Put all food away in the refrigerator, still keeping the meats and produce separated, and make sure the temperature isn’t too warm – anything above 40 degrees.
+Wash your hands before and after handling food and use separate cutting boards for meat and produce.
+Wash all produce just before it’s cut, cooked or consumed with water and pat dry with a towel, even the local and organic stuff and even produce that is peeled. No soap needed. Take a scrub brush to the firm fruit like cantaloupes.