Is For Fresh Vegetables
In recent years,
there has been an increase in the consumption of fresh vegetables
and fruits and increase in the number of illness outbreaks associated
with fresh produce. The "Food Pyramid" recommends that one consume
FIVE servings of vegetables and fruits daily.
Since the fresh produce does
not receive processing treatments that are used to destroy harmful
pathogens, emphasis must be placed on prevention as opposed
to elimination to reduce the risk of foodborne illness.
Although all types of foodborne
pathogens may be transmitted in fresh produce, the pathogens
of greatest concern are considered enteric bacteria. The presence
of enteric bacteria on fresh produce is due to contamination
occurring from a variety of sources. These sources are primarily
soil, water, the farm worker, animals and the food handler.
The following advice should be
considered when it comes to fresh produce.
To keep the produce fresh, keep
it refrigerated. The produce industry also offer a number of "fresh-cut"
products, such as salad mixes, that are cleaned and pre-packaged
for convenience. These products are carefully washed, packaged
and distributed with extreme sensitivity to the need for proper
sanitation and microbiological control. Refrigeration at every
level in the distribution chain Ė from farm to table Ė is the
most important step in ensuring the quality of fresh-cut products.
- Before cooking or serving
fresh produce, wash them thoroughly with cool running water
to remove soil and bacteria. Washing also will remove chemical
residues in the unlikely event any are present.
- Break apart vegetables that
have tight heads such as cauliflower and broccoli before washing.
- Do not soak produce items.
Rinse with running water or lift in and out of clean water.
It also avoids the loss of water-soluble nutrients. Do not
use soapy water to wash fresh produce. Soap leaves a residue
on the produce.
- Root crops, such as carrots
and potatoes should be scrubbed especially if the vegetable
is served with its peel.
- Remove the outer leaves and
discard for leafy vegetables such as cabbage and lettuce.
Wash the heads and drain properly.
- Donít forget to use clean
utensils and cutting board when preparing food with fresh
vegetables. Do not use utensils that have been in contact
with raw meat without sanitizing the utensils.
- As a food handler handling
the fresh produce, remember to wash your hands often. Wash
hands using warm water and soap. Donít forget to change the
single-use glove if you are changing tasks in the kitchen.
For this, or
any food-safety-related information, please call the Bureau
of Consumer Health Services at 713-794-9200.
to the Food Safety health tips page
the HDHHS Bureau of Consumer Health Services