Clemson Extension, Clemson University
Spring has arrived and with it the start of South Carolina’s fresh produce season. No need to cook with frozen, broccoli and strawberries, will soon be perfect. Cooking and eating freshly harvested foods is, without a doubt, the most flavorful and healthy way to eat. However, along the path from field to plate there may be opportunities for illness causing pathogens to tag along. Also, because there really aren’t any of the commercial processing steps designed to preserve and sterilize food, more attention should be given to safe handling.
Listed below are several food safety measures that should be followed when handling fresh fruits and vegetables. Adhering to these tips will allow you to benefit from living in our southern state with its rich growing environment.
Freshly harvested produce.
Donna Bowen, ©2017, Clemson Extension
You can purchase fresh produce from a variety of places including: farmer’s markets, roadside stands, the grocery store or harvest from a home garden. Regardless of where it comes from the same basic handling procedures apply.
Once home produce can easily become unsafe if not stored properly.
One of the most important things to remember about fresh produce is that in many instances the produce will be prepared and served as a “ready to eat” food. That means that you are preparing and eating without cooking so there is no further opportunity to kill any existing pathogens. These foods need extra careful attention to safety when preparing and serving.
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This information is supplied with the understanding that no discrimination is intended and no endorsement of brand names or registered trademarks by the Clemson University Cooperative Extension Service is implied, nor is any discrimination intended by the exclusion of products or manufacturers not named. All recommendations are for South Carolina conditions and may not apply to other areas. Use pesticides only according to the directions on the label. All recommendations for pesticide use are for South Carolina only and were legal at the time of publication, but the status of registration and use patterns are subject to change by action of state and federal regulatory agencies. Follow all directions, precautions and restrictions that are listed.