Produce Hygiene: Keeping Fruit and Veggies Safe to Eat

Kids Nutrition

We all know that produce is delicious and nutritious but ensuring fruits and vegetables are clean
before eating them is key to reduce food borne illness or food poisoning from harmful bacteria,
fungi, and other microbes. Bacteria can come from soil or water where the produce is grown or
fruit and vegetables may become contaminated during preparation or storage. Follow these tips
for good produce hygiene:

Choose wisely:

• Buy fresh fruits and vegetables that are not bruised, mushy, or damaged

• Keep pre-cut produce refrigerated

• Avoid cross-contamination by bagging produce separately from meat, poultry and seafood
during checkout

Store properly:

• Store fruit and vegetable based on their unique storage needs– refer to your Bananas book
for guidelines on specific fruits

• Keep fruit and vegetable in refrigerator drawers or shelves above raw meat to avoid cross

• Refrigerate all produce that is peeled, cut or cooked

• Wash produce just before eating to decrease bacterial growth and spoilage



Store fruit and vegetable based on their unique storage needs


Eat clean:

• Clean all produce under cool running including those you plan to peel – produce brushes are
helpful for fruits and vegetables with firm skin or rinds such as melons and potatoes

• For produce with nooks and crannies such as broccoli and lettuce, soak them in cool water
for 1-2 minutes and use hands to gently free soil and debris

• Ensure hands, cutting boards, countertops and utensils are clean prior to cutting produce
Research has shown that plain old water can remove 98% of the bacteria on produce and special
washes aren’t necessary however, commercial produce cleaners and a 1:4 vinegar to water rinse
is also effective.


Find more in the hashtag #nutritiontidbids



dani of kid food explorers

Hi there! I’m Dani.

Mama of three, pediatric dietitian, and founder of Kid Food Explorers, a resource hub and learning platform that empowers families on their journey to raising confident, adventurous eaters. We’re on a mission to make food fun, with interactive food play and STEAM activities that help kids learn about food in a playful, pressure-free way.

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