It has been a very mild winter for many of us and I must say this gorgeous weather is teasing me. My garden is beginning to awaken, showing signs of spring crops emerging and I am anxiously waiting to get my hands in the dirt. Speaking of dirt, let’s try to remember to make sure you wash ALL your fruits and vegetables. This includes organically grown, from the Farmer’s Market, homegrown or produce purchased from the store.
It’s easy to think, hey, this is organic, no pesticides means I don’t need to wash before I eat it but as you read below, you will see that it is ill advised not to wash all produce before you savor the goodness. Hope you are enjoying perusing your local Farmers market and remember to eat what is in season and buy local the best you can.
Please read the following guidelines for protecting you and your family from harmful bacteria.
Published by: Western Institute for Food Safety and Security (WIFSS) University of California, Davis
Eating a variety of fruits and vegetables is healthy. Care must be taken to be sure fruits and vegetables do not become contaminated with harmful bacteria. One out of four people suffer from food borne illness each year. Some of these illnesses have been traced to eating raw fruits or vegetables.
Everyone is at risk for foodborne illness, however, people who are younger than 5, older than 50, diabetic, pregnant, taking antibiotics or antacids, and those whose immunity is compromised are at higher risk than others.
Bacteria are everywhere. Harmful bacteria may be on fruits and vegetables, hands, kitchen counters and sinks, even when they look clean.
To download the full brochure, please visit the WIFSS website at: www.wifss.ucdavis.edu, click OUTREACH tab, scroll down to WIFSS Outreach Material and click Safe-Handling of Fruits & Vegetables brochure (PDF). Also, for home gardens, click Food Safety Tips for Your Edible Home Garden.
Other resources on food safety accessible online at:
Government Food Safety Information: http://foodsafety.gov/
University of California Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources:
http://anrcatalog.ucdavis.edu. On left side, under BROWSE, click Free Publications, scroll down and click Food Safety & Preservation, go to page 4, to Safe Handling of Fruits & Vegetables and click Download Now. Several other food safety publications available at this site as well.