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How to Safely Handle Vegetables at a Farmers' Food Market


Step 1

Wash your hands before handling vegetables in the market to get rid of any bacteria or virus that may be transferred from your hands to the vegetables. The longer bacteria sits on organic matter, the more likely it will grow and contaminate it.

Step 2

Search for vegetables that are not bruised or damaged. Stay away from produce with broken skin or soft spots. Err on the side of caution if you're not sure about the quality of an item. Your family will be eating it.

Step 3

Check that cut, peeled, prepared or altered vegetables, as well as perishable vegetables, have been refrigerated or stored on ice. If the vegetables have been altered by exposing anything beneath its natural surface, the risk of bacteria growth or spoiling increases.

Step 4

Separately bag the produce from items such as meat or dairy. This precaution will help eliminate any cross-contamination.

Step 5

Wash the unprepared vegetables, even those with peels, before you eat or cook them. Howard Seltzer, from the FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, says you don't need soap or cleaning agents. Just thoroughly wash under running water.

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