Fresh fruit and vegetables are an important and necessary part of a healthy and nutritious diet. They provide many vitamins and minerals to help keep your body healthy.
What should I look for when buying fruit and vegetables?
When shopping for fresh produce, avoid items that are bruised, damaged, mouldy, slimy or show signs of damage from insects.
When buying pre-cut fresh fruit and vegetables, avoid damaged items and open or torn packages. Make sure that the items are properly refrigerated (ie less than 5 degrees). Check use by dates on all packaging and make sure that you eat them before the due date.
Always keep fruit and vegetables separate from raw meat, poultry and seafood. Blood and juice from raw foods could contaminate fruit and vegetables with bacteria.
How should I store my fruit and vegetables?
Fresh produce should be refrigerated as soon as possible after peeling or cutting. Leftover cut produce should be discarded if left at room temperature for more than four hours.
Prevent fruit and vegetables from coming into contact with raw meat, poultry and seafood. Make sure you keep fruit and vegetables in the crisper or on a shelf above these foods so there is no risk of blood and juice dripping onto fresh produce.
What should be refrigerated and what can be left at room temperature?
Fruit and vegetables, in particular fresh cuts, should be kept in the refrigerator at less then 5 to maintain optimum freshness and ensure food safety.
Some vegetables and fruit do not require refrigeration, such as:
- Swedes and potatoes
The following vegetables and fruit can be kept at room temperature until ripe and then refrigerated:
What can I do to minimise risk?
Wash all fruit and vegetables with cool tap water immediately before eating. Do not use soap water or detergent as this can affect the taste.
Scrub fruit and vegetables with hard surfaces (such as rock melons, oranges, potatoes and carrots) with a clean produce brush. Cut away bruised or damaged areas before eating.How should I prepare my fruit and vegetables?
Cut away damaged or bruised areas on fresh fruit and vegetables, as bacteria can grow in these areas. Clean the knife when finished to avoid contaminating other food.
Use clean cutting boards and utensils when handling fresh fruit and vegetables to avoid cross contamination. Where possible, use a clean cutting board for fresh produce and a separate board for raw meat, poultry and seafood.
Be sure to clean your hands thoroughly with soap and water before handling fresh fruit and vegetables. Thoroughly wash all equipment and avoid using sponges or dish clothes as these are difficult to keep clean and may help spread bacteria.
Please Note: The information above has been provided by the NSW Food Authority, for further information on food safety or to download the "Safe Handling - fresh fruit & vegetables" fact sheet please visit www.foodauthority.nsw.gov.au