We know that it’s more important than ever to consume fresh fruits and vegetables, which can help boost the immune system, overall health, and is cause for a good mood! Produce (ahem, read: apples!) is essential to a healthy lifestyle, and now more than ever is a great time to stock your pantry and your belly full of nature’s favorite treats. Our friends at PMA (Produce Marketing Association) created this handy reminder on best practices for keeping your produce clean and safe.
As part of a healthy diet, fresh fruits and vegetables can help your body fight off diseases and pathogens. Knowing the proper way to clean your fruits and vegetables is an important step before safe consumption.
According to the U.S. FDA, it is critical to follow the four key steps of food safety– clean, rinse, separate, and chill – to prevent foodborne illness:
When preparing fresh produce, begin with clean hands: wash your hands for at least 30 seconds with soap and warm water before and after preparation.
Clean all surfaces and utensils with hot water and soap, including cutting boards and knives, before and after preparing fresh fruits and vegetables.
Just before use, rinse under running water only the fruits and vegetables you plan to eat (including those with skins or rinds that are not eaten, such as avocados).
Firm-skinned fruits and vegetables should be rubbed by hand or scrubbed with a clean brush while rinsing under running tap water.
Dry your rinsed fruits and vegetables with a clean cloth or paper towel.
Do not use soap or bleach to wash fresh fruits or vegetables – these products are not intended for consumption.
In your shopping cart and in bags at checkout, separate fresh fruit and vegetables from household chemicals and raw meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs.
Keep produce separated this way in your refrigerator and when preparing food.
Keep your refrigerator at or below 40° F.
Refrigerate all cut, peeled, and/or cooked fresh fruits and vegetables within two hours of preparing to prevent bacteria growth.