Eating Well with Canada’s Food Guide recommends a diet rich in a variety of fruits and vegetables as part of a healthy diet. But, as with any food, it is important that fresh produce be handled and stored properly to reduce the chances of becoming sick.
It is estimated that approximately 11 million Canadians suffer from foodborne illnesses every year. You can reduce the risk with these tips:
Separate: Fresh produce can become contaminated when they come into contact with raw meat, poultry, seafood and their juices. Make sure to keep your fresh fruits and vegetables separate from raw meat in the grocery cart at the store and also in your refrigerator, cutting boards and counters at home.
Clean: You should wash your fresh fruits and vegetables gently under cool running water. Fruits and vegetables that are usually peeled or cut, like melons, oranges and cucumbers, also need to be washed. Scrub fruits and vegetables that have a firm surface, such as melons, potatoes and carrots. Do not soak your fresh fruits and vegetables in a sink full of water. The sink can harbour bacteria that can be transferred to the fresh produce. It is not necessary to use anything other than water to wash your produce.
Chill: Store your fresh fruits and vegetables in the refrigerator at 4ºC (40ºF) or below. All cut fruits and vegetables should be refrigerated and should not be kept out at room temperature for longer than 2 hours.
• More at www.hc-sc.gc.ca.