FOOD SAFETY UPDATE: IMPORTANCE OF WASHING WHOLE FRUITS AND VEGETABLES
Whole fruits and vegetables are sometimes packed directly in the field and other times put into cartons at the facility level after additional steps like grading, sorting and washing. Although some produce items are washed before packaging, Markon recommends all whole fruits and vegetable products be washed before use.
A recent report published by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on the sampling assignment of whole fresh avocados found that of the 361 avocado skin samples tested, 17.73% tested positive for Listeria monocytogenes a pathogenic bacteria that can cause serious illness in humans. This finding is a reminder of the importance of washing all fresh produce even if you do not consume the outer skin layer. The following guidelines are critical to the safety of your customers and anyone who eats whole fresh fruits and vegetables.
Guidelines for washing whole fruits and vegetables
- Wash hands with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds before and after handling whole fresh fruits and vegetables
- Properly clean all surfaces and utensils with hot water and soap; this includes all countertop surfaces, cutting boards, knives, and other items that will touch fresh produce before and after food preparation
- Always use separate utensils and cutting boards for produce and meat/ poultry/seafood to prevent cross-contamination
Rinse commodity fruits and vegetables under clean running water
- Rub firm-skin produce under cold running tap water or scrub with a clean vegetable brush while rinsing
- Dry with a clean cloth or paper towel
- Never use detergent or bleach to wash fresh fruits or vegetables as these chemicals are not intended for consumption
Please do not hesitate to reach out to Markon with any questions you may have on washing whole fruits and vegetables.
Food Safety Director
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