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Tips for Farmer’s Market Food Safety

(CNN) — Summertime is prime-time for fresh produce from the farmer’s market, but if you’re not a regular, you may have some questions about what to look for, and what’s healthiest for your family.

Part of the fun of the farmer’s market can be getting to know the farmers, but chatting up vendors can also be a good opportunity to verify the freshness and safety of produce.

Ask how long they’ve been farming, where the farm is located, and when fruits and vegetables were harvested.

The Alliance for Food and Farming recommends asking vendors to clarify and confirm statements like “Certified Organic,” and “Pesticide Free.”

Also, ask what kinds of food safety precautions take place on the farm, and also when transporting the goods.

Beyond produce, make sure items like eggs and meat are properly chilled at the market and ask whether milk or cheese is pasteurized to kill harmful bacteria. Unpasteurized milk can pose risks, especially for children, older adults and pregnant women.

Meat should go in a separate bag from produce to avoid cross-contamination.

When you get home, wash hands with warm water and soap before and after preparing fresh produce.

Wash fruits and vegetables under running water before eating, cutting or cooking. The FDA doesn’t recommend washing with soap, detergent or commercial produce washes and refrigerate cut or peeled fruits and vegetables within two hours of preparation.


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