10 tips for produce that won’t poison you

  • Tuesday, March 19, 2013 1:11pm
  • Life

Here are 10 tips, gathered from a variety of food safety sources, for handling produce safely:

  • Purchase produce as minimally processed as you can find it. Buy whole heads of lettuce and bunches of leaf lettuce and spinach rather than bags and boxes.
  • Don’t buy produce that has been cut at the store. Grocery stores often don’t store cut fruit at the proper temperature, below 40 degrees, allowing bacteria to multiply on it rapidly.
  • Look for produce that is free from blemishes. Broken skin provides a place for bacteria to enter and increases the chance of contamination.
  • Wash your hands before handling produce so as not to cross-contaminate it.
  • Wash the outsides of produce under cold running water, even if you won’t be eating the skin.
  • Scrub the outside of produce like melons, cucumbers and apples with a brush under cold running water, even if you plan on peeling them. The bacteria on the outside of a melon will be on the inside with the first swipe of a knife that cuts through the skin and into the flesh. Don’t forget to properly sanitize your scrub brush too.
  • Treat produce like you would raw chicken: Clean all surfaces after cutting raw produce.
  • Watch out for cross-contamination. Make sure packages of raw meat aren’t packed in the same grocery bag as fresh fruits and vegetables. Store meats on the lowest shelves of the refrigerator to decrease the chance that they could drip onto other foods.
  • Wash reusable grocery bags frequently. Is the bag you used to carry raw chicken home today the same bag that you’ll carry your leaf lettuce home in tomorrow? If so, make sure it is washed in between.
  • For the elderly, the very young and those with weakened immune systems, cook greens like spinach and sprouts to a temperature of at least 165 degrees to kill any bacteria before eating. The greatest percentage of deaths from salmonella happen among the elderly.

— Lisa Abraham, Akron Beacon Journal

More in Life

Co-owner Jason Parzyk carries two growlers to fill as he serves up beer at Lake Stevens Brewing Co. The first brewery in the city is celebrating one-year anniversary this weekend. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
Beer of the Week: Lake Stevens Brewing Co.’s Sour Imperial

The beer has a depth and a complex flavor profile that goes beyond just another barrel-aged stout.

Legendary bluesman Curtis Salgado to play Arlington show

The Northwest blues-soul-funk-R&B living legend performs with Ben Hunter and Joe Seamons Nov. 18.

This year’s Snohomish Blues Invasion has an all-star lineup

Proceeds send the CD Woodbury Trio and the Benton-Townsend Duo to the International Blues Challenge.

Schack holiday show features Northwest watercolor artists

The free exhibit also will have three-dimensional works, such as jewelry, glass, ceramic and wood.

‘Three Billboards’ rooted in Frances McDormand’s rigid role

The actress of “Fargo” fame gives an Oscar-worthy performance in this black comedy on human nature.

‘The Hate U Give’ shows the burden of being black in America

Angie Thomas’ story of a teen girl covers the challenging experience of African Americans.

A merry Christmas concert with Amy Grant and Michael W. Smith

The Christian music stars will perform at Xfinity Arena with Jordan Smith of “The Voice” on Nov. 18.

‘Veep’ production postponed during Julia Louis-Dreyfus’ treatment

The 56-year-old star has been documenting her breast cancer fight on social media.

The Rucker Hill house is featured in the Twin Peaks series in Everett. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Living happily ever after in the ‘Twin Peaks’ house

Everett homeowners snagged a role in the recent reboot of the 1990s cult classic show.

Most Read