Tips to enjoy safe and healthy foods from the market

Farmers markets are opening soon, so this is a great time to check food safety tips for bringing fresh produce home from the market.

Farmers markets are now open and with the new season of growing, this is a great time to check food safety tips for bringing fresh produce home from the market. Michigan State University Extension and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends:

  • Bag it. If using reusable bags or totes, remember to wash and dry thoroughly and to store in a clean, safe place. Foods can pick up bacteria and pathogens from different sources, so keep the bags clean. Eating contaminated produce can lead to foodborne illness, often called “food poisoning”.
  • Produce selection. Food recommends that we purchase produce that is not bruised or damaged. When selecting fresh fruit or vegetables look at the items appearance and the texture. Fruit should feel heavy for its size. High quality, fresh vegetables are young, crisp and brightly colored.
  • Make sure all produce is bagged separately from meat, poultry and seafood items for the trip home. Cross-contamination is how bacteria can spread. It occurs when juices from raw meats or germs from unclean objects touch raw or ready-to-eat foods.
  • Meat and poultry need to be kept in closed coolers or insulated bags with adequate amounts of ice or freezer packs to maintain a cool temperature while traveling from the market to home.
  • Return home with purchases immediately and refrigerate perishable foods within two hours or within one hour if the temperature is over 90 degrees fahrenheit.
  • Wash hands for 20 seconds before and after handling fresh produce or raw meats and poultry.
When storing fresh produce and meats at home follow these recommendations:
  • Separate produce from fresh meats, seafood and poultry, making sure that they do not leak on fresh fruits and vegetables causing cross contamination.
  • Check the temperature in your refrigerator. It should be between 38 and 41 F. If the temperature is too cold, it can harm perishable produce, if too warm, food can decay. In either case foodborne illnesses can occur.

Enjoy the freshness the growing season offers in fruit, vegetables and meats and other foods. Handling food purchased at the market correctly provides safe food and nutritional benefits for your family.

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