Raw produce, whether bought at a grocery store or the farmers' market, can carry bacteria or viruses that will make you sick. Remember these safety tips when shopping for food at your local market.
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“The most common illnesses you are going to get from a farmers’ market are the same illnesses you would get from a person,” says McFarland Clinic Adult Medicine physician Jennifer Killion, MD. “Viruses are most common (colds and gastroenteritis) and are transmitted by putting them in our mouths. Lack of places to wash your hands and eating food handled by other people can spread viruses.”
Following these food safety guidelines can help keep you and your family illness free.
Buying locally grown vegetables during primary growing seasons allows for best quality. When purchasing produce, look for vendors who practice safe food handling, storage and transportation. This includes:
“Farmers’ markets often have hand sanitizer available–make use of this to help limit contamination,” says Dr. Killion.
Storing food appropriately will help minimize any risk of foodborne illnesses. Once you get your produce home, be sure to wash it before refrigerating.
Other storage tips:
“Any fresh produce that is not peeled or cooked before eaten should be washed prior to consumption,” says Dr. Killion.
Preparing food properly can further eliminate any risk of illness.
“True bacterial food borne illnesses takes 1-4 days to show its effects. Typical symptoms include diarrhea, sometimes with fever and vomiting. If the diarrhea has blood in it that is particularly concerning and medical attention should be sought immediately,” says Dr. Killion.
For more information on food safety visit the following links: