I worry these days about E. coli and all the other icky illnesses I can get from food. Remember the tainted spinach and tomato scares of just a couple of years ago? And now there are new deadly outbreaks of E. coli in Europe in the news possibly traced to cucumbers, tomatoes, and other fresh produce.
I wanted to be better informed, so I got onto the Food and Drug Administration’s website to take a little refresher course in prepping fresh fruits and veggies. And I’m glad I did, because I’d been taking risky shortcuts with my family’s health. Here’s what the site recommends:
Wash your hands for 20 seconds with warm water and soap before and after prepping fresh produce.
Cut away any damaged or bruised areas (harbingers of bacteria) before prepping or eating.
Gently rub fruits and veggies while rinsing under plain running water; you don’t need soap and water.
Always wash produce before you peel it, too, so dirt and bacteria aren’t transferred from your knife to the food.
Use a clean vegetable brush to scrub melons, cukes, zucchini and other firm fruits and veggies.
Dry with a clean cloth or paper towel to help reduce any lingering bacteria.
Tear off and toss the outer leaves of lettuce and cabbageheads.
To bone up on more food safety tips go to FDA’s website and be sure to read ”10 Food Shockers” in the June issue of ShopSmart, now on newsstands. It’s full of easy solutions to some scary surprises.