Here are a few tips for
handling fresh produce
Opt for Local and Seasonal
If possible, select those fruits and vegetables that are grown locally and in season. Shorter transport routes and storage durations often mean fewer pesticides and herbicides were used during cultivation.
Practice Smart Shopping
Don’t overdo it when shopping for fresh produce — buy only what you’re sure to use within a few days to avoid spoiling.
Keep Produce Cool
The FDA recommends that certain perishable fruits such as berries, lettuce, herbs and mushrooms can be best maintained by storing in a clean refrigerator at a temperature of 40° or below.
Before handling fresh produce, wash your hands — as well as all utensils and cutting surfaces — with warm, soapy water. Avoid cross-contamination with raw meat during grocery bagging, food storage and preparation.
Both the FDA and the USDA recommends washing all fruits and vegetables thoroughly in cold, drinkable water before eating (purified water ensures the absence of any harmful pollutants that may be present in tap water).
When washing lettuce, cabbage and other leafy greens, always remove the outer leaves first.
Rinse berries and other more fragile fruits in a colander.
Even produce with outer rinds or peels (like melons) need to be washed well, as contaminants on the outer skin may be transferred to the edible parts during peeling or cutting.
Root vegetables and others with thicker skin may be washed with a vegetable brush to remove potential bacteria.