Since fresh fruits and vegetables are in season, we often get asked about the best way to wash and clean produce. In these warmer summer months many people eat more raw produce that is not exposed to cooking temperatures that can destroy harmful bacteria. Here are 8 simple steps that can help prevent food-borne illness and remove any harmful bacteria to keep your produce healthy and safe.
Keep Produce Clean
- Before using any fresh produce, wash them under cold running tap water to remove any dirt.
- Produce with firm surfaces (apples, melons, potatoes) can be scrubbed with a brush.
- Discard outer leaves of leafy green vegetables, such as lettuce and cabbage.
- Do not wash anything with detergent or soap.
- You may choose to use produce washes. Although they are not a requirement for safe food, they are safe and effective. Make sure to rinse well after using these washes.
- Cut off any damaged or bruised areas where bacteria have potential to grow. Be sure to use a clean cutting board.
- Immediately refrigerate fresh-cut items, such as salads, for quality and safety.
- Store produce on a shelf or a drawer above where raw meat is placed, so there is no contamination.