Safe selling at the farmers market

Though National Farmers Market Week is coming to a close, the farmers market season is still well underway. In fact, as farmers markets become an increasingly popular way to get fresh farm goodies, some continue year-round.

And just like commercial kitchens, home kitchens, food production and processing plants and anywhere else where food can be found, food safety is key. With farmers markets often taking place outdoors, and a wide variety of products sold there, consumers and vendors need to keep many food safety conventions in mind. Here are some tips from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Fruits and veggies

  • Handwashing is key. We might think of veggies as being cleaner than raw meat, but in reality, fresh produce can contain pathogenic bacteria like Salmonella, E. coli and Listeria. Wash hands before and after handling produce.
  • Consumers should wash the produce they buy, but you don’t need to use soap like you do with your hands. Do this even if you’re going to peel the fruit or vegetable, because bacteria may have permeated the skin.
  • Cutting up fruits and veggies? Refrigerate cut or peeled produce within two hours of preparation.

Pasteurize it

For the sake of food safety, it’s important to pasteurize certain products. Pasteurization is the heating of a product to a temperature that can kill pathogenic bacteria. Products that should be pasteurized include juice, cider, and milk (including milk being used to make cheese). Raw milk in particular has been shown to be 840 times more likely to make you sick than pasteurized milk.

Eggs

In the U.S., the FDA requires that untreated shell eggs be stored at a chilly 45°F. Dirty or cracked eggs should be discarded, not sold.

Meat

Like eggs, meat should be stored at a cold temperature, like in a cooler with plenty of ice. Buyers should use an insulated bag or cooler to keep purchased meat cold on the way home, and be careful not to let the raw meat touch any other purchases.

Neogen offers products to ensure food safety for the food industry, including sanitation testing, antibiotic testing and more.

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